I find the absence of a single credible plan for a resolution of W's mess in Iraq astounding. Politicians of all stripes, columnists, generals and the guy on the street have come up with only: a) stay the course / internationalize (sounded good for awhile but its time may have already passed) or b) tuck tail and pull out. Without rehashing old arguments, it seems to me that both approaches are unacceptably flawed.
Accordingly, it is time for leaders to begin to heave the baggage of some of their principals in order to come up with a solution that will (ahem) float. As one who is committed to preserving the sanctity of national borders and multi-cultural states, let me offer the following sacrifice of principal in search for a greater good:
The three state solution.
- Assure the Kurds of 10 more years of autonomy and provide for the immediate establishment of an autonomous Kurdish government with the caveat that the government must be structured so as to be amenable to entry into an Iraqi Republic. Assure Turkey that the US will protect the integrity of the Turkish border. US / UN troops in the north retreat to a buffer between the Kurdish region and the central region.
- Permit the creation of a regional Sunni led government in the central region and get the hell out of there. This region seems much more amenable to carrot than stick and the economics of oil, over time, provide quite a carrot. "Its the people's oil" (and there is how much revenue per iraqi annually?) ought to go a long way toward enlightened leadership from the Mullahs. US / UN can continue to train Iraqi police and or military in outlying regions.
- Permit / encourage the creation of an autonomous regional authority in the shite south. The impact of oil economics would make a quick impact in this impoverished region and would provide further impetus for those in the central region to get in line. This will both protect, further and exploit the relative stability here (as in the kurdish north).
In sum, the three state solution brings a new political nightmare (partition) into play, but might significantly reduce the problems we currently face: exploit the best aspects of the expedited handover, without putting at play all of the internal iraqi conflicts; get US troops into a more secure and productive role and strat producing some of the hope and liberty which the naive-o-cons dreamed of and which we are now bound to provide.
I'm hardly an Iraq expert and this isn't a complete idea. It might be a lousy idea, but its one more idea than I've heard from any of our leaders. So I look forward to your comments.