Battlepanda: History only rhymes


Always trying to figure things out with the minimum of bullshit and the maximum of belligerence.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

History only rhymes

There's a very cool new blog on the block. It's called the Washington Realist, and true to it's name, it's all about our international affairs from a hard-nosed pragmatic perspective. He draws some parallels between Iraq and Bosnia, but not the hopeful ones suggested by, say, Jackson Deihl in this WaPo op-ed.
[Deihl] equates Bosnia's Serbs with Iraq's Sunnis--perhaps in his desire to paint both with the brush of genocidal villainy--but the more logical comparison from the point of view of actual politics would be the Sunnis of Iraq with Bosnia's Muslims--both the "statist" nationality trying to rule over two other groups that did not accept their legitimacy to speak for the country as a whole. The Bosnian Serbs wanted not to dominate Bosnia but to take control of what they deemed Serbian land, expel non-Serbs to create facts on the ground, and leave the rest to be independent or be absorbed or dominated by Croatia (essentially the American plan in creating the Bosniak-Croat Federation in Washington in 1994)--they have had the least interest in Bosnia as Bosnia--much in the same way that many Kurds aren't really interested in Iraq south of Kirkuk or what happens in Baghdad. And of course the democracy crowd wants to forget that the nationalists who plunged Bosnia into civil war, including, I'm afraid, war criminal Radovan Karadzic--were ELECTED in elections in 1990 deemed to be "free and fair." It may be cute to call Karadzic and Mladic "insurgents" but again, if we fail to ignore how premature democratization in Bosnia helped to unleash civil strife, we learn the wrong lesson.

This sounds right on the money to me. The main problem with the rose-tinted view that purple fingers are going to be the solution to Iraq's ills is that the ethnic tensions are exacerbated rather than eased by voting -- the Sunnis know they cannot outvote the Shiites, leaving sabotage and terrorism as the "logical" way to wield power.