Saturday, January 29, 2005

Foreign Affairs on Iraq, Jan/Feb 2005

     Foreign Affairs has three peices on Iraq in its newest issue.  In reverse order as presented...

     Luttwak: Wow.  So much about this article is wonderful, even, of course, as it was almost all terrible news.  Let me quote this section

The very word "guerilla" acquired its meaning from the ferocious insurgency of the illiterate Spanish poor against their would-be liberators under the leadership of their traditional oppressors.  On July 6, 1808, King Joseph of Spain presented a draft constitution that for the first time in Spanish history offered an independent judiciary, freedom of the press, and the abolition of the remaining feudal privileges of the aristocracy and the church.  Ecclesiastical overlords still owned 3,148 towns and villages, which were inhabited by some of Europe's most wretched tenants.  Yet the Spanish peasantry did not rise to demand the immediate implementation of the new constitution.  Instead, they obeyed the priests, who summoned them to fight against the ungodly innovations of the foreign invader -- for Joseph was the brother of Napoleon Bonaparte and had been placed on the Spanish throne by French troops a month earlier.  That was all that mattered for most Spaniards -- not what was proposed, but who proposed it.
     By then, the French should have known better.  In 1799 he same thing had happened in Naples, whose liberals, supported by the French, were massacred by the very peasants and plebeians they wanted to emancipate, mustered into a militia of the "Holy Faith" by Cardinal Fabrizio Ruffo (the scon, coincidentally, of Calabria's most powerful landowning family).  Ruffo easily persuaded his followers that all promises of merely material betterment were irrelevant, because the real aim of the French and the liberals was to destroy the Catholic relgion in the service of Satan.  Spain's clergy repeated Ruffo's ploy, and their illiterate followers could not know that the very first clause in Joseph's draft constitution had declared the Roman Apostolic Catholic Church the only one allowed in Spain.
     But it's not only this that puts him in a different class.  He explains the difference in efforts at mass political education, which definitely happened in post-WWII Germany and Japan.  He includes a detailed review of the interests of Iraq's neighbors, including facts about the Turkish support of anti-American forces in their effort to support (Azeri) Turkomen in Kirkuk over the Kurds, and that no neighbor except Jordan seems to be playing ball with the US, and presents a case for reversing that trend.

     Dobbins : This is the best I expected from Foreign Affairs.  It talks about the mood on the street, saying we've lost it and are most unlikely to regain its favor.  It talks about an emphasis on withdrawal, once the new government (which is admitted to have only some credibility) can secure Iraq itself.  It helpfully suggests avoiding combat with the insurgents, and instead focussing on the protection of the civilians.  The piece, with its emphasis on how things went in Bosnia, on the UN, on France and Germany, seems like cold war thinking on the topic. 

     Gaddis : Barely a paragraph goes by without some error of fact or logic occuring. You might as well watch Fox News.

     Sadly, I actually _bought_ Foreign Affairs to read this, and they (generally) don't publish their articles free on the net.

No comments: