Why do the Kurds and their struggles arouse so little interest or sympathy or solidarity around the world? It is because of the doctrine of political “realism,” of which the greatest theoretician is Henry Kissinger—and, to be sure, Kissinger, as practitioner of his own theory, was the founder of America’s tradition of betraying the Kurds. The Kurds in Iraq in the early 1970s staged a rebellion against the Baathist dictatorship in Baghdad, and they enjoyed some American support. But, in 1975, Kissinger, as secretary of state, deemed the rebellion to be no longer in the American interest, and America’s support disappeared. With what consequences? The Kurds suffered terribly. Baathism flourished in Iraq. And, in time, the United States ended up at war with the Baathists, anyway.
Realism, the doctrine, affirms that, in matters of international affairs, the strong count, and the weak do not. That is because realism entertains a utopia, which is that of stability. And stability can be achieved only by a concert of the big and the powerful. It cannot be achieved by the small and the weak. Therefore realism is hostile to rebellions for freedom, hostile to small nations, hostile to invocations of morality or principle—hostile with a good conscience, on the grounds that, in the long run, the stability of the strong is better for everyone than the rebellions of the weak. Realism is, in short, an anti-Kurdish doctrine.
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