We now have the odd case of an unambiguous imperialist-Zionist project, namely Kurdistan, that is an appealing alternative to what threatens it, namely the crazy-fascist so-called Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). I previously linked to John Judis on the oil connection. Here’s background on the Kurds that I don’t necessarily endorse in all its details. I’m no expert. I do know the Kurds have been screwed multiple times over the decades, including by the U.S. Their national aspirations are legitimate, as far as I’m concerned. If they get rich from oil, good for them. If they make Exxon rich, who the hell cares. Exxon is already rich. If Turkey doesn’t like it, fuck Turkey.
The U.S. government always exaggerates the savagery of its target-of-the-month. Noriega and his cocaine that turned out to be tortilla powder. Saddam’s invading army knocking over baby incubators in Kuwait, but not really (a great Alex Cockburn exposé). Poor Hugo Chavez of Venezuela, winning those damn elections. In the case of ISIS, however, I have heard nobody offer any defense of them. If you want to give it a shot, be my guest. It’s kind of like discerning the moderate Nazis. No ISIS doesn’t threaten the world like Hitler, but it promises to cause a good deal of trouble in its own right. Invading Iraq to extirpate them looks hopeless. Keeping them out of Kurdistan seems doable. Rescuing the Yazidis on the mountain, I hope so. Perhaps some political progress in Baghdad would help, but I wouldn’t hang my hat on that as any sort of short-term remedy.
Some on the left will look foolish putting forth diplomacy and political reform in Iraq as an alternative. It is ill-suited to the real-time situation on the ground. Total U.S. abstention is morally unsatisfactory, even though the motives for intervention are always impure. Then there was some stupid shit about ISIS being a ploy of Israeli intelligence (no I’m not linking to it). A good example of how conspiracism is bad politics, in this case gratuitous anti-Zionism and a dumb distraction.