(CNN) -- Iraq is tearing itself apart. Its government has lost control of large parts of the country; intercommunal violence is rife and al Qaeda is resurgent. A description not of 2014 but 2006 -- and a situation that led Joseph R. Biden, then a U.S. Senator and now Vice President, to argue that it was time to split Iraq into three parts: Kurdish, Shia and Sunni.
Biden and Leslie Gelb, in an op-ed for the New York Times, looked to Bosnia as the modern precedent, which they asserted had been preserved by "paradoxically, dividing it into ethnic federations, even allowing Muslims, Croats and Serbs to retain separate armies."