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The Khaldun Option
September 24, 2007 6:01 PM   Subscribe

A Kurdish-controlled Iraq?
The goal of human society, ibn Khaldun thought, was the development of culture and the sciences.
For a variety of reasons, namely "geopolitical reality," it'd never work, but a poli-sci friend of mine did call it "philosophically interesting and compelling even."
posted by kliuless (30 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

 
I, for one, welcome our new Kurdish philosopher-scientist overlords.
posted by Slap Factory at 6:04 PM on September 24, 2007


...it'd never work...

Like what we have now is working so great.

I say we write this up (DONE), send it over (EMAILING NOW) and get the hell out (DEAR CONGRESS...).
posted by DU at 6:13 PM on September 24, 2007


Well that's insanity. But not that insane. It'd make more sense to hand over the country to the Iranians though. They're even more organized than the Kurds, already culturally dominate the country, and, heck, letting them handle the mess might keep them so preoccupied they'd forget to blow up Israel. It's too bad Americans have this stubborn 'you break it, you buy it' mentality to their imperialism.
posted by nixerman at 6:31 PM on September 24, 2007


It's too bad Americans have this stubborn 'you break it, you buy it' mentality to their imperialism.

Pottery Barn is to blame for that.
posted by Poolio at 6:33 PM on September 24, 2007 [2 favorites]


They might make an effective, good government, but that has never been a strong criteria to actually governing.
(I'd be all for it just to piss of the Turks at this point.)
posted by edgeways at 6:36 PM on September 24, 2007


Isn't that how the British controlled India, not by putting more and more British troops there but by farming control out to people who are native but having them control different regions? Nothing outlandish about the plan, it's just the regular colonial way to do things.
posted by bobo123 at 6:38 PM on September 24, 2007


Isn't that how the British controlled India,

Also, it's how the British controlled Iraq.
posted by thrako at 6:43 PM on September 24, 2007


The Kurds are too geographically concentrated for this to work. The US hasn't been able to prevent ethnic cleansing in Baghdad; are they now going to ethnically cleanse it themselves to make room for resettled Kurds?

This idea isn't the greatest as far as building a stable democracy goes, but that's neither here nor there; we're in a world with no happy endings. It's just that this particular scheme doesn't seem to pass the smell test.

It's our instinct to look for a guy with a plan or a screwdriver who can fix the mess we've created, but he doesn't exist.

And even if he did, the Bush administration wouldn't have anything to do with him.
posted by ibmcginty at 6:46 PM on September 24, 2007


The Israelis had a similar idea for Lebanon. They would use the Druze to keep the others, particularly the muslims, subdued in Lebanon. With Israeli direction it led to the Sabra and Shatila massacre organised under 'man of peace' Sharon.

There is now a plan to use the Kurds for this in Iraq and to use them to attempt to divide Iran into more easily subduable portions. The other people who might be used for this are the Azeris.

A huge problem with using the Kurds is that the Turks will go ballistic. About 1/3 of the area of Turkey is Kurdish. The Turks virulently oppose a Kurdish state. It might even be enough to get the Turks and the Iranians to agree to co-operate to keep the US out.

It's all a very dangerous game, but one the Zionazis and the Bush administration would be prepared to play, as they did in Lebanon.
posted by sien at 6:49 PM on September 24, 2007


The goal of human society, ibn Khaldun thought, was the development of culture and the sciences.

And Saddam thought the goal of human society was gassing his own people. Or wait, what did he think was the goal of human society? Actually he was an admirer of scientist and culture. And Hitler was a huge patron of the arts.

The vapid slogan above is just that, a vapid slogan. I mean, it says basically nothing about political philosophy, but plenty of evil men like art and philosophy. I'm not saying this guy is, but the little quote above doesn't really say much.
posted by delmoi at 6:50 PM on September 24, 2007


delmoi writes "I'm not saying this guy is, but the little quote above doesn't really say much."

I think you mean was. He died in 1406.
posted by mullingitover at 7:01 PM on September 24, 2007


but a poli-sci friend of mine did call it "philosophically interesting and compelling even."

Well, so is masturbation, but that isn't stopping any wars.
posted by eriko at 7:03 PM on September 24, 2007 [1 favorite]


Pottery Barn is to blame for that.

Ironically, pottery barn does not require you to buy things if you break 'em. Colon Powell came up with that little riff on his own, and this whole war is really putting a damper on their foot traffic.
posted by delmoi at 7:11 PM on September 24, 2007


What?

You mean I can start taking my pet bull back there now?
posted by Artw at 7:17 PM on September 24, 2007


And Hitler was a huge patron of the arts.

???

That would only work if Wagner, Futurism and Goose-step-Deco are the sum total of "the arts".... /derail
posted by Avenger at 7:21 PM on September 24, 2007


Well, so is masturbation, but that isn't stopping any wars.
Maybe not, but for world peace, I'm willing to give it a try.
posted by Flunkie at 7:32 PM on September 24, 2007 [1 favorite]


eriko:
Well, so is masturbation, but that isn't stopping any wars.
Perhaps it is. Since the appearance of high quality easily available pr0n in the 60s and 70s the Cold War has ended and conflict is gradually going down. And once the net appeared in the 90s it has reduced to.

Correlation, causation, who can say? But honestly, how many wars has Hugh Hefner started?
posted by sien at 7:56 PM on September 24, 2007


it's how the British controlled Iraq

yeah, that was one of my friend's points: there's no guarantees, over the long run, that the kurds would be any better than the baathists.

the other two (more predictably ;) btw is that turkey would never tolerate it -- turkey being more important than a nascent kurdistan on the scale of US security interests -- and neither would "anyone even remotely sympathetic with Arab nationalism," as shalizi anticipates! (or persian for that matter...)

the little quote above doesn't really say much

yeah, the post is more nuanced than that; i just liked it as a 'grabber' :P interestingly, i just read greg clark's _a farewell to alms_, which i thought took a novel approach to a theory of economic development, but apparently also meshes well with khaldun's (and gellner's?) political philosophy, imo!

and finally re: masturbation... isn't stopping any wars

i don't think my friend would disagree; he sez: "The goal of humanity is not culture and the arts - it is security." but i, for onetwo? (on the other hand!), feel that engaging in a fair bit of wankery is no small thing :D
posted by kliuless at 7:57 PM on September 24, 2007


Why would the Kurds want the rest of Iraq? They have plenty of oil up in the north, and have driven out most of the Arabs. I suspect the reality is that we will split Kurdistan off, and then build a new arab Iraq out using forces out of former Ba'athists and Suni tribesman. We'll put a Shi'ite in the presidency for legitimacy probably Al-Jafari. This is the phase 1 before the Iran war.
posted by humanfont at 8:07 PM on September 24, 2007


i'm not an iran-warist per se; i think the next administration will try to wait them out -- hoping the 'revolution' will implode under the weight of its own logical inconsistencies -- altho i do await some kind of regional conflagration/escalating proxy war.
posted by kliuless at 8:28 PM on September 24, 2007


human--

The kurds are a bit landlocked right now. A suitable deal with Kuwait would alleviate that.
posted by effugas at 8:47 PM on September 24, 2007


hmmmm, what if the kurds cut a (pipeline) deal with turkey?
posted by kliuless at 8:53 PM on September 24, 2007


As if in Iraq only Kurds possess the necessary solidarity.
posted by zouhair at 10:49 PM on September 24, 2007


It seems like the only doable plans for a relatively peaceful Iraq will necessarily involve Turkey and Iran. Those negotiations ought to be fun. Maybe there could be some sort of King Solomon baby-splitting contest?

That would only work if Wagner, Futurism and Goose-step-Deco are the sum total of "the arts"
Actually, Hitler loathed Futurism. It was really just a WWI-era Italian Fascist scene, and even most of the Fascists thought it was weird. Hitler actually had really boring taste in art. He did pretty little watercolours of bridges and things. Postcard fodder. Nazism was about preserving the German way of life (which snowballed into some other things), a goal with which Futurism could never gybe.

posted by Reggie Digest at 2:08 AM on September 25, 2007


Why do I have a sudden urge to masturbate at Pottery Barn?
posted by Reggie Digest at 2:13 AM on September 25, 2007


you spanked it you bought the sofa?
posted by prodigalsun at 4:59 AM on September 25, 2007


Depends on whether you stained it or not.
posted by y2karl at 5:16 AM on September 25, 2007


Why does everyone in America see the Kurds as the "good guys"? During the Iraqi elections there were several reports of Kurds keeping the Assyrian minority away from the voting booths at gunpoint.
posted by rocket88 at 8:54 AM on September 25, 2007


Neat! Now that the Kurds have signed an oil exploration and profit-sharing deal with one of the Bush's best pals in the oil industry, suddenly it starts to look like a good idea to let the Kurds run the entire show! Wow. That just works out so well for everybody, huh?
posted by saulgoodman at 10:05 AM on September 25, 2007


You know who else was a Kurd?
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 12:27 PM on September 25, 2007


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