A while back there was a debate over whether Bush was the Churchill of the 21st century. Of course, the liberal media was having none of it.
I was reminded of that when I read this passage in The Prize:
The British needed a monarch for Iraq, another new state, this one to be formed out of three former provinces of the Turkish empire. Political stability in the area was required not only by the prospect for oil, but also for the defense of the Persian Gulf and for the new imperial air route from Britain to India, Singapore, and Australia. The British did not want to rule the region directly; that would cost too much. Rather what Churchill, then the head of the Colonial Office, wanted was an Arab government, with a constitutional monarch, that would be "supported" by Britain under League of Nations mandate. It would be cheaper. So Churchill crowned King of Iraq in Baghdad in August 1921. Faisal's brother Abdullah-originally destined for the Iraqi throne-was instead installed as king "of the vacant lot which the British christened the Amirate of Transjordan."Is Bush Churchillian? Lets see.
Faisal's task was enormous; he had not inherited a well-defined nation, but rather a collection of diverse groups - Shia Aras and Sunni Arabs, Jews and Kurds and Yazidis - a territory with a few important cities, most of the countryside under the control of local sheiks, and with little common political or cultural history, but with a rising Arab nationalism. The minority Sunni Arabs held political power, while the Shia Arabs were by far the most numerous. To complicate things further, the Jews were the largest single group among inhabitants of Baghdad, followed by Arabs and Turks. To this religious and ethnic mosaic, Britain sought to import constitutionalism and a responsible parliament. Faisal depended upon Britain to support his new kingdom, but his position would be gravely impaired if he were seen as being too beholden to London. The British government had to cope not only with Arab nationalism in Iraq but also with the oil men, who were clamoring for some word on the status of the Iraqi concession. Britain was all for oil development, hoping that the potential oil revenues would help finance the new Iraqi government and further reduce its own financial burdens.
- Attempts to import constitutionalism and a responsible parliament on a collection of diverse ethnic groups:
- Believes that oil revenues would support the new government and pay for reconstruction:
- Creates a government that is dependent on a foreign power but can't be seen as being too beholden:
- Has a need for political stability for access to oil, but no desire to rule directly:
In fact this whole situation sounds frighteningly similar to what is happening today. Well except for the part about Jews being the largest ethic group of Baghdad. Fortunately for the Jews they left a long time ago.