The Corner

Biden and Iraq

Let’s not forget also that, when the going got tough in Iraq, Sen. McCain embraced the formula — the surge — that reversed the trends and eventually led us to greater stability and security. Sen. Biden proposed dividing Iraq into three separate regions: Kurdish, Sunni Arab, and Shi’a Arab. Opposition to his proposal turned out to be the only thing to unify Iraqis:

  • It would have led to massive ethnic and sectarian cleansing in more diverse areas like Baghdad, Mosul, Kirkuk, and portions of Diyala.
  • It assumed all Biden’s ethnic and sectarian groups agreed with each other and shared a single voice (hmm… then what has all the Shi’a on Shi’a and Sunni on Sunni violence been about?)
  • It would have been an open invitation for the Turks and Iranian to fight over the statelet in northern Iraq and for the Iranians to try to jump into the Shi’astan in southern Iraq.

Sometimes foreign policy is about more than getting in front of the C-SPAN cameras or basking in New York Times praise. Obama may have wanted Biden’s foreign policy experience, but he may soon find that Biden’s track record leaves a lot to be desired. On Iraq, on Iran, and elsewhere…

Michael Rubin is a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, senior lecturer at the Naval Postgraduate School’s Center for Civil-Military Relations, and a senior editor of the Middle East Quarterly.

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