Freedom From Europe: The Real Anti-Colonialism

It is actually quite remarkable that the anti-colonialist left hasn’t seen through the ruler-straight borders of the Middle East created and imposed by the imperial forces of Europe, and even more remarkable that it took the conservatives to popularize such a notion.
Let’s be honest: Iraq doesn’t really exist. There is not unified state of Iraq other than that which was put together through fear and intimidation; but now that the fear is gone, outdated trepidation does not social cohesion make.
As Ralph Peters, a retired military officer and the author of “Beyond Terror: Strategy in a Changing World,” writes in the Washington Post, “What if some Iraqis prefer to live apart from others who slaughtered their families? …We are far too quick to follow Europe’s example and resist the popular will we should be supporting. If the United States does not stand for self-determination, who shall?”
But no: the anti-imperialist, post-colonialist school that is an embarrassment to the traditional humanism of the left that would rather have Saddam in power than the liberal constitutional democracy of the United States of America.
These circles of anti-colonialists–and those that still respect their opinions–have taken the Iranian backed marches in Nasseriya as proof that the Iraqi people want to be “liberated of their American occupiers.” Honestly, let’s be realistic: those marching–protesting for the first time in a quarter of a century–no more represent the Iraqi people’s will than the very impressive millions that marched against the war here at home. I was certainly impressed, but the numbers just didn’t add up: support for the war is now at 76%, more than a 2/3rds majority, enough to pass an amendment to the constitution.
But back to the fate of Iraq, now being used cynically as blackmail by the French and Russians to reassert their lost importance: what exactly is keeping Iraq together? The peoples themselves were never a distinct whole, even under Ottoman administration. Baghdad always maintained its independence, as did Basra to the south and Mosul and Kirkuk to the north.
Come to think of it, can anyone name one good reason that the Kurds should not have an independent state, other than “it will anger the Turks”? With the Kurds serving as the symbol of the successful creation of liberal democracy from tyranny in that corner of the world, I cannot think of a nobler cause then to allow the Kurds to declare their independence, with Kirkuk and Mosul, and having US troops dare the Turks to challenge their right to a free and independent state. Yes, they do not have access to ports, but with modern technology and the good ol’ oil pipeline, they will do just fine–as they have for the past half a decade under the protection of US and UK airpower.
The creation of what Michael Oren names “a Kurdish state in the north; a Sunni state in the center; and a Shi’ite state in the South” would bring the freedom from European imperialism long-sought by the region’s peoples. So why are we so keen on keeping Iraq whole again?
[note: In my last post on Canceling Iraq’s debt I noted that it is ironic that the same Russian state that benifited from its own shaking off of debts after the Soviet Revolution is now demanding that the Iraqi people pay Saddam’s dues. William Safire at the New York Times concluded his own article on the same note–published after my own. Now I am not saying that Mr. Safire reads my columns, but I do want to point out to those who said that I “stole” my ideas on the anti-Americanism of the post-colonialist faculty in Columbia from Pipes and the Post that ideas tend to be shared by a number of different peoples with different ideologies, especially when they are true.]


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