By Aidan Dion
The referendums in Kurdistan and Catalonia have gotten very little main stream coverage in the United States. Both have the potential to plunge their countries into chaos. The Catalonian referendum has the potential to further tear apart the country while the gears of civil war in Iraq are turning. Despite the potential for global upheaval, the American public has heard little from domestic outlets.
The United States has turned her back on the allies that have risked annihilation in the war against ISIS. The Kurds have fought bravely and have decided to rule the land they defended. However, they unwisely betted heavily on US support. This puts the United States at a cross roads. Turkey, Iraq, and Iran all have vested interest in maintaining a unified country. Kurds make up 19% of Turkey’s population, mainly near the border. A free Kurdish state would cause uprising in Turkey, causing concerns for an increase in PKK activity. Turkey is fearful of civil unrest , especially since the attempted coup in favor of a more secular government. Further, the majority of congress, on both sides of the aisle, has advocated for a unified Iraq. Iran, also having a Kurdish population, has provided militia support to the Iraqi army. This unlikely coalition is rolling to the Kurds in US tanks. The US has chosen to maintain its relationship with Turkey, Iraq, and Iran rather than support the Kurds.
Seemingly unlike the rest of the world, the average American has a very short attention span when it comes to global events. Few will remember that 30 years ago, the United States again turned its back on its Kurdish allies. This resulted in Saddam Hussein using mustard gas on his own people. In the days following the referendum and the evacuation of Peshmerga forces, there have been reports of violence against Kurdish civilians. As it appears we will be seeing a repeat of similar events, it would not be ideal to broadcast this across the nation. The image of Democrats and Republicans alike turning their backs on the Kurds for the sake of politics helps neither political party. The best option now is to play neutral, support no one. This essentially allows the Kurds to be overrun. This in turn can also be said about Catalonia. If the United States has a demographic that supports either side of the referendum, then a precedent will be set for our support in Iraq.
The thought of leaving behind allies who trusted us for a second time is too much for most Americans to take. At this moment the two armies we trained, supplied, funded, and led will be at war. It is unfortunately out of the hands of the United States. Media coverage would bring little help, and only sew further internal anger. I am not supporting the idea of burying our heads in the sand. The downfall of the United States as a super power will come when the people stop caring about foreign interests. This is the current trend. The US spheres of influence are shrinking and the Kurds will now feel the lack of support. Iran’s hegemony is growing without a clear US presence in the region and the US is still bound to the dangerous relationship with Turkey. This article isn’t a shot at Trump’s insults, Hillary’s lies, and the typical political shenanigans. This is a sad reminder of the situation we have been squeezed into by our constant attempt to both support our interests and play the moral high ground. ISIS has been defeated, now the real work is beginning.