It has been considered very intellectual to blame the Brits for the sectarian violence based upon those artificial borders, but my answer has always been: Name me one country (not counting countries that are islands like Japan, Australia and England) whose borders were not artificially drawn.
For most of the 20th Century the Germans kept map makers in business drawing and redrawing borders and renaming countries in Europe.
As for whether the current problems in Iraq can be traced back to the U.S. led invasion in 2003, former Prime Minister Tony Blair pointed out over the weekend:
"Even if you'd left Saddam in place in 2003, then when 2011 happened - and you had the Arab revolutions going through Tunisia and Libya and Yemen and Bahrain and Egypt and Syria - you would have still had a major problem in Iraq."Indeed," he said, "you can see what happens when you leave the dictator in place, as has happened with Assad now. The problems don't go away."
Unlike many foreign crises, the Iraq issue will have a direct impact on Americans. Oil prices are going up, fast. According to the LA Times:
"West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude rose 14 cents to $106.67 a barrel Friday. It was up 4.1% this week to the highest level since September." While "Brent crude, which sets the price of most foreign oil, was up 48 cents to $113.50 a barrel. It rose 4.4% this week, the biggest rise in nearly a year."
As I am typing this on Sunday night, WTI was trading at $107.41 per barrel up another 74 cents over the weekend. That will translate to higher pump prices within a few weeks.
Another good reason to make higher and better use of North American oil and gas reserves.
I know how tired we all are of reading about Russian bullying Ukraine, and Assad killing his own people, and Egypt rigging its election to put in yet another strongman President, a Nigerian terror group stealing young girls, and now Sunnis and Shias squaring off in Iraq.
I get that.
I am not at all in favor of sending American troops into any of those places and I certainly have no prescription for what to do next.
But, I do think it is an all of our interests to at least keep tabs on what is going on elsewhere in the world.
The world, as we have learned all too well, is a much smaller place than it used to be.
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