Protected: Learning From History

May 31, 2007 at 9:56 pm | Posted in Politics | Leave a comment

Looks like our Decider-in-Chief is looking at the American presence in South Korea as a model for Iraq in the decades ahead. Let’s look at some differences between the two countries:

  • Demographics – South Korea is a homogeneous society, unlike Iraq’s feuding ethnic and religious groups.
  • Enemies – After the Korean War, South Koreans united against the North. Iraq is in the midst of a civil war between multiple groups.
  • Logistics – Unlike North Korea’s dependence on other countries, there is plenty of evidence that Iraqi insurgents are self-sufficient, not really needing outside support.
  • Geography – South Korea was effectively isolated from their enemies by water and a well-defined DMZ. Without porous land borders, South Korea developed in peace. Iraq, on the other hand, has been a trading crossroads for over 2000 years.
  • Resources – South Korea does not have any natural resources and had to build its economy the hard way. Iraq is both blessed and cursed by oil wealth – whether used to fund insurgent activity or being influenced by western oil interests.
  • Recent History – South Korea had 30+ years of military dictatorship after civil war. Economic development trumped democracy. Iraq had 30+ years of military dictatorship before civil war. The raison-de-etre for Al Qaeda is the presence of American forces in Arab lands.

George W. Bush reads a lot of history books, but it’s apparent he doesn’t really learn from them. The vision may be the same, but the steps to get from our current quagmire to the South Korean model is unknown and difficult. It’s very irresponsible to be handing off this problem to the next President.

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