The Flinchum File
Thoughtful Economic Analysis and Existential Opinions

Situational Morality


Long before the British and the French designed the national borders in the Middle East following World War I, it was well known that the Kurds of Kurdistan were tough and tenacious fighters.  Not wanting to leave behind a strong, united Kurdistan, it is decided that the nation would be divided between Iraq, Syria, and Turkey.  In other words, the Kurds were denied their own nation.

But, the Kurds helped the U.S. in Iraq to defeat Saddam Hussein, and the Kurds of Syria were instrumental in the initial defeat of Isis.  (The Syrian Kurds lost 11,000 fighters in defeating Isis, while the U.S. lost only 6 soldiers inside Syria!)  We assured the Kurds that it was smart to be an ally of the U.S.

Of course, the geopolitical perspective is that Turkey will be much more important to the U.S. in the future than the Kurds.  We don’t need the Kurds anymore, but we do need Turkey, which is the crossroads between the Middle East, Africa, and Europe.  Turkey has great geopolitical importance.  The Kurds have nothing . . .  not even our appreciation.

The binary thinking is that we either let Turkey have part of Syria and kill the Kurds, or we do not.  A third choice would be to give part of Syria to Turkey, with meaningful protection of the Kurds.  The President said the Kurds don’t deserve our protection because they didn’t help the U.S. during World War II, which is academically silly.  Do we keep our promises only to those nations that stormed the Normandy beaches?

Like ethics, is morality situational?

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