Joe Biden has tried selling his plan to split Iraq into three protostates for at least the last two years, with not much success. First, the Turks would likely have a Kurdish insurrection on their hands, and more importantly, the Iraqis don’t seem particularly keen on the idea. However, Biden has won over one convert:
It would be an unusual pairing, but two presidential hopefuls from opposite sides of the political spectrum, Senator Brownback and Senator Biden, could team up on a proposal for Iraq that splits the country into three loosely federated states.
Mr. Brownback, a Republican known for his social conservatism, suggested yesterday that the bipartisan proposal could follow President Bush’s veto this week of legislation tying war funding to a timetable for withdrawal of American troops. The Kansas senator voted against the Democratic bill, but he has occasionally veered away from his party’s base on the war, and he initially opposed the president’s decision to send more than 20,000 additional troops to Iraq earlier this year.
He has advocated a more aggressive diplomatic effort, and he even suggested yesterday, in an appearance on ABC’s “This Week,” that Secretary of State Rice should lead reconciliation talks among Sunni, Shiite, and Kurdish leaders in Iraq.
Like Mr. Biden, a Democrat of Delaware, Mr. Brownback is a long shot for his party’s nomination in 2008, but they share common ground in advocating a “three-state solution” in Iraq that sets them apart from their rivals on either side in the presidential campaign.
I would venture to guess that neither Biden nor Brownback have ever engaged the Iraqis in a discussion about how much they would like to see their country hacked to pieces. Nor, to my knowledge, have they made an argument that explains how the United States Senate has the sovereignty to split Iraq into three new self-autonomous regions. The Iraqi people, under its democratic processes, elected a parliament that drew up and approved a constitution, and neither Brownback nor Biden have an explanation as to why that document shouldn’t be honored by the US.
That’s because there is no argument or explanation for the proposal. It’s haughty, arrogant, and in the end a rather stupid plan. That, coincidentally, accurately describes its principal author, but it is disappointing to see Brownback rise to support such a foolish and pretentious proposal.
A split of Iraq into three protostates would be a disaster, which even the Iraq study group acknowledged. It ceded all of southern Iraq to Iran, for all practical purposes, and creates an even bigger problem of access in the Persian Gulf. The Kurds in Turkey would amplify their demands for their own autonomy or to join with Iraqi Kurdistan, further destabilizing secular Turkey and creating an impetus for either civil war or a war against Iraqi Kurds, or both. Finally, without oil revenes, the Sunnis of the rump Iraq would wind up radicalized and more inclined to support Islamist terror groups like al-Qaeda, not move away from them as the Sunnis are doing now in Anbar and Diyala.
It’s hard to see how Brownback can think he gains politically by allying himself with Joe Biden, so it must be presumed that he really believes in this plan. If so, it shows that he cannot be seriously taken for a presidential contender. if Brownback would seriously follow this policy as President, then we need to make sure he doesn’t get there — or else we will have a regional catastrophe that could take decades to resolve.