U.S. foreign policy is informed by expert dunces, who chronically give birth to calamities.
The credentialed gurus lack any theory of man or understanding of human nature. They routinely blunder because they are clueless about the craving for power for the sake of power, and the visceral eagerness of the majority for an omnipotent executive to make them safe at any cost.
Despite their losing streak reminiscent of the New York Mets in their maiden season, the stature of expert dunces remains undiminished in the pre-eminent foreign policy circles. That alarming phenomenon is explained by staggering ignorance in the White House and the corridors of Congress. In the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king.
Exemplary is the advice of Kenneth M. Pollack, a senior fellow at the prestigious Brookings Institution, to bring stability and legitimacy to the government of Iraq through a Shiite-Sunni power sharing dispensation. Writing in The New York Times (“ISIS is Losing Iraq. But What Happens Next?” Feb. 4, 2015), Mr. Pollack insinuates that U.S. national security would be profoundly impaired if Iraq falls into a Shiite-Sunni civil war.
That conclusion is far from self-evident, and Mr. Pollack fails to articulate a single reason for believing that it is true. Numerous countries are plagued with civil strife irrelevant to the security of the United States. Think of Somalia, Libya, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Nigeria, Mali, the Central African Republic, Sudan, South Sudan, Thailand, Burma, Bangladesh, and Pakistan.
The United States does not revel in the misery of other peoples. But our national security would be no more implicated in a Shiite-Sunni civil war than it was by the Rwandan genocide of Tutus by Hutsi in 1994. Indeed, a small dress rehearsal civil war in Iraq was witnessed by the United States after the 1991 Persian Gulf War, when Sunni President Saddam Hussein massacred Shiites in an uprising by the Marsh Arabs. The security of the United States was not menaced by Saddam’s domestic atrocities.
Mr. Pollack correctly understands that left to their own devices, Shiites and Sunnis will never agree to power sharing because of 1,000 years of mutual distrust, antagonism and hostilities. In the eyes of Sunnis, Shiite’s are infidels. With the arguable exception of Azerbaijan, the two sects are adversaries if not enemies in every Islamic nation in the world. Throughout Iraq’s 85-year existence, Sunnis and Shiites have predictably been mortal opponents. Seeking to fashion a functional Shiite-Sunni power-sharing arrangement would be as otiose as searching for a perpetual motion machine.
Yet such a lunatic endeavor is precisely what Mr. Pollack urges the United States to undertake. He urges the White House to appoint a representative to mediate a power-sharing compact. But since Iraq’s Sunnis are splintered, the appointee would act as a surrogate negotiator for them, a protocol guaranteed to alienate them from any agreement.
Mr. Pollack contends that the United States pulled off a Shiite-Sunni power-sharing miracle once before in 2008. But even if that were so, the success was short-lived. It became unglued in a few years. Mr. Pollack offers no reason to believe a re-enactement of the 2008 miracle today would endure any longer. So why undertake the effort?
Because Mr. Pollack thinks that Shiites and Sunnis will trust the United State to fulfill promises of weapons, economic assistance and otherwise to midwife power sharing?
In 1991, the United States encouraged Iraq’s Marsh Arabs to revolt against Saddam Hussein, and then abandoned them to Saddam’s mercy. The United State supported Saddam in his 1980-88 war with Iran, and then switched to overthrow and kill him in 2003. The United States normalized relations with Libya’s Col. Muammar Gaddafi for destroying weapons of mass destruction, renouncing terrorism, and paying compensation for the Lockerbie bombing. Then we flipped and commenced war against Gaddafi in 2011, which led to his ouster and murder by our allies.
No Shiite or Sunni in Iraq with minimal intelligence would trust the United States not to double-cross them, for instance, abandoning Iraq’s Sunnis to cut a nuclear deal with Shiite Iran, or betraying Iraq’s Shiites to solidify relations with Saudi Arabia, including undiminished production of oil to keep international prices low and Russia, Venezuela, and Iran economically destitute.
Expert dunces need to be driven out of the nation’s foreign policy arena as Jesus drove out money changers from the Temple.
For more information on Bruce Fein, visit brucefeinlaw.