(Via John Robb) Martin Van Creveld, military strategist who foresaw the raise of non-western warfare (e.g. War on Terrorism) to the shrinking of the tradition role of states, has written in Forward Newspaper (Major Jewish-American publication) an gives his pessimistic analysis on the War on Iraq:
[A] divided, chaotic, government-less Iraq is very likely to become a hornets’ nest. From it, a hundred mini-Zarqawis will spread all over the Middle East, conducting acts of sabotage and seeking to overthrow governments in Allah’s name.
While coming from one of the brightest minds in military thinking, Van Creveld’s opinion is neither unique nor shocking. But what struck me was how John Robb headlined that particular excerpt above: “Iraq in turn destabilizes the region as global guerrillas spread out.”
In the words of Thomas Barnett: Its about Connectivity, Stupid!
As mentioned in a paper I wrote, the principal argument I had made on supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom was that “U.S. intervention aiding in the creation of a liberal democratic Iraq is key in bringing not only liberalism to the region, but in essence exporting a new regime of strategic security to the Middle East.” In short, a liberal Iraq would reach out and bring economic connectivity to the stagnate Middle East region and with it a new security regime.
On the opposite end…One of the more saner arguments against the war, as Van Crevald said, was that the intervention would ultimately fail, launching hundreds of mini-Zarqawis and min-Bin Ladens all over the Middle East.
But in essence, these two arguments are the one and the same and I agree with both:
1. A free, liberal and democratic Iraq can act as a hub to further economic (and maybe even political) connectivity in the region stimulating economic growth and with it regional stability.
2. A divided, failed Iraqi state can act as a hub (a “bazaar of violence” in John Robb’s term) that will reach out to export instability to neighbouring countries while also attracting many to join Al-Qaida-related groups in Iraq.
Its about all connectivity, but different sides of the same coin. Thus, as made time and time again by many – the question is not if we will withdraw from Iraq, but as the Economist puts it “Not whether, but how, to withdraw“.
The War in Iraq is about connectivity. Originally, it was under the idealistic impression that the only connectivity possible was the championing of liberalism in the Middle East, but in the current sobering reality – we know that connectivity cuts both ways.
What connectivity will the New Iraq ultimately bring to the Middle East?
One thing for sure is, if we withdraw unilaterally now, we’ll surrender the chance for liberal connectivity.