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Joe Biden Was Right—Partition Iraq! But That Was Back In 2006
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See, earlier, by Steve Sailer: The Partition Possibility, November 30, 2003

Adapted from the latest Radio Derb, available exclusively at

Big news of the week: the arm-wrestling bout with Iran. Again, as I said last week, there is no market here for Great Game strategizing. I’d like for us to tip over the chess-board and walk away.

The whole thing just fills me with despair and disgust at the sheer colossal stupidity of American foreign policy. Trillions of dollars, thousands of lives, tens of thousands of maimed and disfigured, for what?

Doesn’t anyone have to answer for it all? Doesn’t anyone at least get reduced to the ranks of ordinary citizens with ordinary jobs, instead of wallowing in extravagant government pensions, corporate directorships, and six-figure speaking fees?

I guess not. They’re the nomenklatura. They can do as they please. I more and more find myself thinking there are tumbrils and guillotines in our future, and not minding the thought very much.

I have a couple of sidebar points about the Iran business, though.

  • First sidebar point. I read with interest that there were mass casualties from a crowd stampede at the funeral for General What’s-his-name, the Iranian bigshot we blew up with a drone last week. Apparently the streets of the general’s home town were too narrow for the crowds to be properly managed.

Quote from the New York Times:

The head of Iran’s emergency medical services said 56 people had died and 213 were injured … as millions of people flooded the streets of Kerman to witness the [funeral] procession.

[Iran Fires on U.S. Forces at 2 Bases in Iraq, Calling It ‘Fierce Revenge,’ by Alissa J. Rubin et al.; January 7, 2020]

For us Cold War babies, that brings to mind Stalin‘s funeral in Moscow, March 1953. Again, crowds overwhelmed the crowd control measures and many people were crushed or trampled to death. [How Stalin’s demise resulted in the deaths of dozens of Soviet citizens, by Oleg Yegorov, Russia Beyond, March 15, 2019] Nobody knows the numbers: estimates start at a few dozen.

So, one for the memo file: If you’re in a totalitarian dictatorship when someone really important dies, stay away from the funeral procession. It’ll be on TV anyway.

(If you’re in a civilized country, the issue doesn’t arise. I followed Winston Churchill’s funeral cortege all through the streets of 1965 London without mishap. But that was when Britain was a civilized country. Nowadays things might be different.)

Stopped clocks are right twice a day, though, and Joe Biden has occasionally been right. I’m looking at the op-ed cosigned by Joe Biden and the late Leslie Gelb, a Council on Foreign Relations panjandrum, back on May 1st, 2006. It makes melancholy reading thirteen years and eight months later:

It is increasingly clear that President Bush does not have a strategy for victory in Iraq. Rather, he hopes to prevent defeat and pass the problem along to his successor. Meanwhile, the frustration of Americans is mounting so fast that Congress might end up mandating a rapid pullout, even at the risk of precipitating chaos and a civil war that becomes a regional war.

Our frustration was mounting so fast! Thirteen years and eight months ago! That’s precisely five thousand days ago this Wednesday, if my calculator has not deceived me. Five thousand days! Imagine how much more frustrated we must be now!

And: “Congress might end up mandating a rapid pullout.” Congress! [Laugh.]

That’s not my main point, though. My main point is a bit further down in Joe and Leslie’s op-ed.

After noting the ineffectual nature of Iraq’s so-called “governments of national unity,” Joe writes, or agrees with Gelb writing, the following:

The alternative path out of this terrible trap has five elements.

The first is to establish three largely autonomous regions with a viable central government in Baghdad. The Kurdish, Sunni and Shiite regions [See map at right, via the WSJ.]would each be responsible for their own domestic laws, administration and internal security.

[Unity Through Autonomy in Iraq, by Joe Biden and Leslie Gelb; NY Times, May 1, 2006]

Yesssss! Partition!

Iraq is a bogus country. It should be three countries. All right, that’s not precisely what Joe wrote, but he and Gelb were headed in the right direction.

Below, another map of the (rough) divisions that might be negotiated, via an Iraqi blogger:

Biden’s idea echoes perennial themes: Human differences matter! good fences make good neighbors!

But the rest of the foreign policy Establishment was of course aghast. Iraq’s borders are sacrosanct! they swooned.

If only they’d felt the same way about America’s.

So yes, sure, Joe’s a clown. But even a clown is right once in a while.

John Derbyshire [email him] writes an incredible amount on all sorts of subjects for all kinds of outlets. (This no longer includes National Review, whose editors had some kind of tantrum and fired him.) He is the author of We Are Doomed: Reclaiming Conservative Pessimism and several other books. He has had two books published by com: FROM THE DISSIDENT RIGHT (also available in Kindle) and FROM THE DISSIDENT RIGHT II: ESSAYS 2013.

(Republished from VDare by permission of author or representative)
• Category: Foreign Policy • Tags: Iraq 
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  1. Anon[145] • Disclaimer says:

    This solution doesn’t sound feasible anymore but it is increasingly sounding desirable and inevitable in UK, USA and Israel . Will the fences be Tawainese made and Mexican erected ? Brexit is sending US back to 1670’s size. A good fence around it will prevent rerun of massacre of Indians,Kenyans,Malays and original Americans.
    I saw Hungary is still in Iraq and plans to stay . So is another Israeli friendly anti immigrant neighbor of Hungary. I think Turkey should open the gate and allow the sub Saharan to flood Hungary .

  2. Exile says:

    One of my longstanding legacy opinions that has withstood the fires of red-pilling is that Iraq and many other Versailles-era fake, gay “nations” should be re-partitioned along realistic lines reflecting their actual kin, ethnic and racial ties as well as their history and culture. It’s up to the groups themselves to DIY this process – US & NATO should for once in their sorry lives stay the hell out. We broke these polities and reset the bones in deformed fashion. They need to rebreak and refuse the bones of their true nations, but they don’t need more of our help in doing it.

    • Agree: Realist, El Dato
    • Replies: @RadicalCenter
  3. Anonymous[392] • Disclaimer says:

    Actually, we should partition the UK.

    Let the Irish have their country back, and let the browns have a chunk, let the blacks have a chunk, and the Anglos can have what is left over.

    By the way, no one died in Churchill’s funeral because no one cared about him enough to crowd the street in millions. It is no because lol the UK is civilized.

  4. BuelahMan says:

    Yes, of course it should be divided up as the jews instruct with the goal of Eretz Israel the end run.

    At least John is on board with it.

  5. A rather arrogant point of view.

    Writing about dividing up other people’s country.

    How about just staying out of them?

    • Replies: @Joe Walker
    , @nsa
  6. unit472 says:

    Partition might seem a good idea but its hard to do in practice even if the inhabitants want it. .

    Since WW2 the cardinal rule has been preserve the territorial integrity of nations to preserve the peace. It worked more or less because both the US and USSR agreed to it. Unfortunately that meant some highly unstable nations came into existence. Jugoslavia and Iraq were kept together by a combination of internal dictators and outside powers unwilling to tolerate the consequences of a breakup.

    The collapse of the USSR has put this postwar solution at risk. Russia’s seizure of Crimea, whatever the merits of the case, crossed the line whereby a more powerful neighbor could seize the territory of another state which is why no one, save some Russian satrapies, recognizes Crimea as Russian territory.

    None of the regional players in the Levant want to see a Kurdish nation save the Kurds. A Sunni state on Syria’s borders is anathema to the Assad regime and its allies and a Shia state on the nothern borders of the Gulf Monarchies is unacceptable to them.

    • Replies: @Exile
  7. @Exile

    Your points make sense. One problem with our supporting ethnic partition, though, is that it could increasingly look plausible for a very large chunk of the disunited states of America…..

    • Replies: @Exile
  8. barr says:

    That at sucker is dead! I thought he were alive in the bribed souls of the US.

  9. Forbes says:

    Separate countries for separate people…what a novel concept.

    • Replies: @Joe Walker
  10. @Anonymous

    By the way, no one died in Churchill’s funeral because no one cared about him enough to crowd the street in millions. It is no because lol the UK is civilized.

    Churchill’s legacy seems to have been manufactured a decent time after he died, he was known as the butcher of Gallipoli and assumed the premiership of the UK due to Chamberlain losing the confidence of the house, as soon as free elections were held in July 1945, he was voted out as Attlee won with a landslide (47.7% of the voted 393 seats translating to a majority of 136)

    Did Britons at the time know that the war was phoney?

  11. @Anonymous

    Good point! The Brits have a long history of invading, conquering and partitioning other people’s countries. Let them get a taste of their own medicine for a change.

    • Disagree: Chris Mallory
    • Replies: @europeasant
  12. @John Chuckman

    Such a concept is alien to the British mind.

  13. @Forbes

    I am sure that Derbyshire is a big supporter of partitioning Britain so that the Scots can have their own independent nation separate from England.

  14. Trillions of dollars, thousands of lives, tens of thousands of maimed and disfigured, for what?

    It does serve a purpose Derb. It makes the donor class richer.

  15. SafeNow says:

    A historical case for political partition: 750,000 died in the Civil War (the recently revised figure), rather than separate the country. Grave after-effects flowed from fighting the Civil War, and resentments continue to this day. The case can be made that Lincoln was actually the worst U.S. president.

  16. Exile says:

    I’m all for it. We’re not a functioning polity.

    It has distinct downsides, but it has to happen sooner or later, and we may as well do it when we’re not facing much harsher geopolitical circumstances. There is presently nothing equivalent to the hostile 1860’s British Empire that would have tried to turn the Confederacy into a British client-state.

    For example, China would likely repeat its African strategy in the independent cities of Detroit, Atlanta, New Orleans, etc… but as China eventually showed the Brits with Hong Kong, where there is rough techno-cultural parity, a “free city” is as much a liability as an asset in Great Game imperial-colonial efforts. And Britain was working through Chinese proxies, not America’s orcs.

    If it’s going to happen anyway, let it happen under our own management while Whites still maintain the majority.

  17. Exile says:

    The collapse of the USSR has put this postwar solution at risk. Russia’s seizure of Crimea, whatever the merits of the case, crossed the line whereby a more powerful neighbor could seize the territory of another state which is why no one, save some Russian satrapies, recognizes Crimea as Russian territory.

    The entire Ukraine was part of Russia for much longer than it was ever “independent.” You’re conflating Magic Paper “recognition,” largely jawboned by the US and NATO, with historical realities.

    The United States has “crossed this line” dozens of times – installing puppets like Bautista, Diem, Pahlavi, Aquino, Samoza, Pinochet, etc.. down to Ukraine, Iraq and Afghanistan today. The USSR had a comparably long list.

    Absent some dubious distinction without a difference regarding outright seizure vs. “remote control,” I don’t see how the Crimea represents anything but business as usual.

  18. Truth3 says:


    Derbyshire is now touting the Israeli line.

    The clown deserves to be exiled from

    • Replies: @RadicalCenter
  19. inertial says:

    You have to be careful partitioning other countries. It creates precedents. Kosovo precedent led to Crimea. Partitioning Iraq could lead to partitioning Ukraine, which is just as bogus a country as Iraq.

  20. inertial says:

    In the age of Internet, it’s easy to find records of stampedes in the “civilized” Britain.

    For example, Ibrox Disaster of 1971. 66 dead, 200+ injured. “The tragedy included many children who died, and most of the deaths were caused by compressive asphyxia, with bodies being stacked up to six feet deep in the area.”

    Another example: the 1989 Hillsborough disaster. 96 dead, 766 injured.

    Churchill’s Britain was not immune to stampedes either. 173 people died in the Bethnal Green tube station disaster in 1943.

  21. nsa says:
    @John Chuckman

    “Writing about dividing up other people’s country.”
    Derb is a born traitor……traitor to his birth country (relocating to the US) and traitor to his race (breeds with an asian). So is it any surprise the great man would wet a finger to the talmudic wind and support dismembering all perceived enemies of jew supremacy…..the very definition of shabbos goy?

    • Replies: @Bill Jones
  22. @nsa

    I agree wholeheartedly.

    Just what is it with these neocon filth that they just can’t stop fucking about with other peoples countries?

  23. dfordoom says: • Website

    Actually, we should partition the UK.

    It’s actually quite likely it will break up. After a few years of Boris Johnson the Scots will vote to leave. They’d probably vote to leave now. This will be a very good thing for everybody. It might finally convince the English that the days of Empire are over.

    Within a generation Northern Ireland will leave the UK and join the the rest of Ireland. The religious divisions are now irrelevant.

    • Replies: @Sean
  24. Sean says:

    Scotland could not possibly stay in the EU and be independent of an England which was outside of the EU.

    Partitioning Iraq could not be done except by the Sunni and Shia states each taking a part of Kurdistan, because an independent Kurdish state would be attacked by all the neighbouring countries.

  25. anonymous[245] • Disclaimer says:

    Once again, the comments confirm that Mr. Derbyshire should stick to running a white/black race bait shop for sophisticated Anglophiles. When he steps outside, the naive fealty to Uncle Sam has been embarrassing.

  26. “The alternative path out of this terrible trap has five elements”

    Why don’t we just let them settle their own affairs. First a Revolutionary war to drive out the Invaders and then a Civil war to determine supremacy.

    This plan will work great in Africa and Asia. The USA will provide ammunition and arms. Yes of course Russia will want their fair share of war profits.

    Let the Games Begin.

  27. @Joe Walker

    “Let them get a taste of their own medicine for a change”

    Don’t you at least feel a little bit sorry for them!

  28. bjondo says:

    Speaking of partitioning,

    partition NYC,
    partition UK,
    partition France,
    partition US,
    partition Ersatz Israel
    into Palestine and a raft for Jew –
    somewhere in the sea,
    bottom OK.


    Unpartition Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, Jordan, Palestine.


  29. renfro says:


    It wasn’t Biden’s partition plan… was the Israelis…….Biden has always backed whatever they told him to. And btw they also wanted to install one of the Jordan lesser princes as ruler of the Iraq portion.

  30. @Truth3

    How about a grand proposal whereby Israel’s current territory is split into a country for the Jewish Israelis and another country for nonJewish Arabs (Palestine),

    Saudi Arabia is split into two countries — one more Sunni, one heavily majority Shia, each carved up to have 40-60% of the oil and gas fields,

    and Iraq is split into Kurdistan in the north, a Sunni country, and a Shia country mostly bordering Iran.

    What’s sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander.

  31. Trump was put in by the Jews to start WWIII so the “Right” would take the fall for it!

  32. SonyDC says:

    What a joke! This is the right from the Zionists playbook “The Greater Israel Project.”

    NO, you can’t divide the country into three parts it doesn’t benefit the Iraqis, just the Israelis.

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