December 7, 2007
The Kurds' Story
In trying to untangle the strands of modern "humanitarian interventionism" one could do worse than by starting with the implementation genius Fred Cuny. Apposite events, of course, go back to Biafra (as did Fred) and earlier, but the real turning point came with Fred's repatriation of Iraqi Kurds after the first Gulf War. Afterwards, the military and many/most aid organizations entered something of a consensual relationship; those who cut their teeth on the Kurds would later play key roles in Somalia, Bosnia, and the Second Gulf War, up through today's occupation of Iraq. Perhaps it's worthwhile, then, to take another look at the Kurds to see what lessons we might learn and to ask what Act II might bring. Here, I talk with the BBC reporter Quil Lawrence, author of the forthcoming book, Invisible Nation: How the Kurds' Quest for Statehood Is Shaping Iraq and the Middle East. I would paraphrase Quil's insights this way: "Sometimes diplomacy is the art of doing as little as possible." It was good of Quil to take time to talk with me and I hope we can talk again. Total runtime fifty six minutes. Enjoy!