Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Democratic Stability in Iraq: Unity, Federation, Confederation, or Dissolution?

My Hoover colleague, Victor Davis Hanson, hits upon a growing divisive trend afflicting Europe in his column of September 6, 2010.

“Take Europe. The decades-old vision of a united pan-continental Europe without borders is dissolving. The cradle-to-grave welfare dream proved too expensive for Europe's shrinking and aging population.

“Cultural, linguistic and economic divides between Germany and Greece, or Holland and Bulgaria, remain too wide to be bridged by fumbling bureaucrats in Brussels. NATO has devolved into a euphemism for American expeditionary forces.

“Nationalism is returning, based on stronger common ties of language, history, religion and culture. We are even seeing the return of a two-century-old European "problem": a powerful Germany that logically seeks greater political influence commensurate with its undeniable economic superiority.”

The key word is “divides.” Culture, language, religion, and history are pushing Europeans apart. If this is happening in Europe, think Sunnis, Shias, Kurds, and other tribal groups in Iraq. I believe the best that can be hoped for is Swiss-style confederation, but even that may be too optimistic.

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