Say, Was Biden Right About Sectarian Conflict In Iraq?
He might very well have been. It only took 8 years and a different President
(Politico) The advance of Islamic militants across Iraq has brought fresh criticism for the Obama administration – but may also deliver a grim measure of vindication to one very prominent White House official: Vice President Joe Biden.
In recent months, former officials and pundits questioned and even ridiculed Biden’s foreign policy acumen.
Former Defense Secretary Bob Gates wrote in his memoir that Biden “was wrong on nearly every major foreign policy and national security issue of the past four decades.” (snip)
This week paints Biden’s judgment in a far different light.
Recent events in Iraq call attention to his prediction nearly a decade ago that the war-torn nation was heading towards a break-up along sectarian lines – and to a prescription he offered to try to manage that reality by granting Sunnis, Shia and Kurds greater autonomy over various parts of the country.
In other words: while Biden may have taken a beating repeatedly in recent years for some foreign policy calls he’s made, his judgment on Iraq’s capacity to stay one country now looks almost prescient.
“Some will say moving toward strong regionalism would ignite sectarian cleansing. But that’s exactly what is going on already, in ever-bigger waves,” Biden wrote in a 2006 New York Times op-ed he co-authored. “Others will argue that it would lead to partition. But a breakup is already under way. As it was in Bosnia, a strong federal system is a viable means to prevent both perils in Iraq.”
We’ll never know if the idea of splitting Iraq up into a federal republic (funny how Biden doesn’t seem to think our federal republic is great, since he serves the Democrat Party and a president who seems to despise anything other than naked federal executive power). A few Republicans and Democrats also were pushing that plan, as well, including early in the war. When it comes to sectarian conflict, let’s remember a few things. First, much of that, by the time 2006 rolled around a goodly chunk of the violence was being fueled by outside forces which were streaming in to Iraq and/or meddling. Al Qaeda and other Islamic extremist/terrorist groups. Islamists from around the world were in Iraq fighting. Iran and Syria were meddling. The Bush plan was not working, and failed to stop the influx of foreign fighters. Then they wen t with the Surge. Democrats will proclaim that it did not work, and they would be wrong. The Surge allowed more political reconciliation, reducing conflict.
What Biden was 100% correct on was when he said “The presidency is not something that lends itself to on-the-job training”. Iraq has been Barack Obama’s since January 20, 2008, when he assumed the Office of the Presidency. At that point, George W. Bush had no control over US policy in Iraq. What has happened in the 5+ years since is partly the result of Obama’s poor foreign policy. Obviously, we cannot simply Blame Obama for everything. Bush still bears some blame, and we cannot forget about the role that the Iraqi government has played. Nor the role that hardcore Islamists have played. But, as the saying went while Bush was president and it was learned how much occurred in setting up the September 11th attacks during the Clinton years “who’s president now?” It’s not like the rest of Obama’s Middle East policies (among other foreign policy) has worked particularly well.
And a Joe Biden prediction from 8 years ago and two presidential elections has only come to fruition thanks to the guy he works for. But, is hardcore terrorism really “sectarian conflict”?
Of course, you know what’s really important?
(Newsbusters) As city after city in northern Iraq falls to deadly Islamist extremist militias pressing onward to Baghdad, questions are now being raised about the wisdom of the United States’ swift exit from the Middle East nation just a couple of years ago at the direction of President Obama. But leave it to MSNBC to preemptively shut down any criticism of the White House.
On the June 12 edition of NewsNation, host Tamron Hall had several foreign policy experts on to analyze the chaos in Iraq specifically and the Middle East more generally. Towards the end of the conversation, Hall felt the need to defend attacks against Obama from the right [MP3 audio here; video below]:
Well, of course. Democrats are great at casting blame, but not particularly good at accepting it.
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