Home
In this issue

Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review Feb. 22, 2007 /4 Adar, 5767

The lessons learned from the Balkans in the 1990s call for more troops in Iraq, not a withdrawal

By Max Boot


Printer Friendly Version
Email this article


http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | The Iraq debate is starting to resemble the Yugoslavia debate of the early 1990s. Once again we are hearing that crazed foreigners are in the grip of ancient ethnic hatreds and that the U.S. has no cause to get involved in their internecine strife. Ironically, some of those now making this "realist" argument resisted its spurious logic 15 years ago. They were right to do so then, and they would be tragically mistaken were they to succumb to the siren song of nonintervention today.


In the former Yugoslavia, as in Iraq, ethnic groups have clashed over the years, but they also have had long periods of peaceful coexistence — and not only under the heavy hand of a Tito or Saddam Hussein. Croats, Bosnians, Slovenians, Kosovars, Macedonians, Montenegrins and Serbs lived together for centuries under the relatively benign Ottoman and Habsburg empires and later under their own monarchy. So did Kurds, Shiites and Sunnis in Mesopotamia.


In both cases, intermarriage rates were high, and there was no popular clamor for civil war. In more recent times, domestic strife was fomented by megalomaniacs such as Slobodan Milosevic and Abu Musab Zarqawi, who sought to profit from the violence. They were able to gain the upper hand because central authority had collapsed. In a lawless land, ordinary people were forced to seek protection from sectarian militias. As these groups committed atrocities, they fed demands for vengeance, leading to a death spiral.


Viewing the violence from a comfy couch, it is easy to conclude that "these people are animals. We can't help them." But imagine what would have happened in Los Angeles if the 1992 riots had gone on for weeks, with no police or military intervention. L.A. could have come to resemble Baghdad or Sarajevo, with Anglo, African American, Latino and Asian gangs rampaging out of control.


To extend the analogy, violence could have spread throughout Southern California. That's what happened in the Balkans when fighting spread from Slovenia, the first province to secede, to Croatia, Bosnia and Kosovo. A wider spillover was averted thanks to American-led intervention.


Today, only the U.S. troop presence is preventing Iraq, already in the throes of a low-level civil war, from degenerating into an all-out conflict a la Yugoslavia. The likely effect of such a bloodletting is spelled out in a recent report, "Things Fall Apart," by Brookings Institution fellows Daniel Byman and Kenneth Pollack. They examined recent civil wars not only in Yugoslavia but in Afghanistan, Congo, Lebanon, Chechnya, Nagorno-Karabakh, Somalia and Tajikistan. "We found," they write, "that 'spillover' is common in massive civil wars" and "that while its intensity can vary considerably, at its worst it can have truly catastrophic effects."


They cite six such effects, beyond the obvious humanitarian nightmare.


First, a massive exodus of refugees, "large groupings of embittered people who serve as a ready recruiting pool for armed groups still waging the civil war." For example, Palestinian refugees sparked conflicts in Jordan in 1970-71 and in Lebanon from 1975 to 1990.


Second, states in civil war can provide a haven for existing terrorist groups (Al Qaeda in Afghanistan) or create new ones (Hezbollah in Lebanon).


Third, civil wars often radicalize neighboring populations. For instance, the Rwanda genocide in the mid-1990s sparked a civil war in Congo, which has led to an estimated 4 million deaths.


Fourth, "secession breeds secessionism," as in Yugoslavia.


Fifth, there are huge economic losses.


Finally, Byman and Pollack write, "the problems created by these other forms of spillover often provoke neighboring states to intervene — to stop terrorism as Israel tried repeatedly in Lebanon, to halt the flow of refugees as the Europeans tried in Yugoslavia, or to end (or respond to) the radicalization of their own population as Syria did in Lebanonů. The result is that many civil wars become regional wars."


As Byman and Pollack note, "Iraq has all the earmarks of creating quite severe spillover problems." This is, after all, a state with something worth fighting for (oil), and one where all the major combatants (various Sunni, Shiite and Kurd groups) are amply represented in neighboring countries. Iraq's potential as a breeding ground for terrorism is even greater than Lebanon's or Afghanistan's.


Maybe it's too late to avoid the catastrophe that Byman and Pollack warn of. But Yugoslavia showed how much good a decisive intervention could do. The case for action — for sending more troops rather than withdrawing the ones already there — is even stronger in Iraq because we have caused its current turmoil and cannot escape its consequences.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.



Max Boot is Olin Senior Fellow in National Security Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York. He is also a contributing editor to The Weekly Standard and a weekly columnist for the Los Angeles Times. To comment, please click here.


Archives
BOOT'S LATEST
The Savage Wars of Peace: Small Wars and the Rise of American Power  

The book was selected as one of the best books of 2002 by The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times and The Christian Science Monitor. It also won the 2003 General Wallace M. Greene Jr. Award, given annually by the Marine Corps Heritage Foundation for the best nonfiction book pertaining to Marine Corps history. Sales help fund JWR.

© 2007, Los Angeles Times. Distributed by Los Angeles Times Syndicate

Columnists

Toons

Lifestyles