Krauthammer on Obama
July 26, 2008
Obama, reflecting the mainstream Democratic view, simply wants to get out of Iraq as soon as possible. Two years ago, it was because the war was lost. Now, we are told, it is to save Afghanistan. The reasons change, but the conclusion is always the same. Out of Iraq. Banish the very memory. Leave as small and insignificant a residual force as possible. And no long-term bases.
McCain, like George Bush, envisions the United States seizing the fruits of victory from a bloody and costly war by establishing an extensive strategic relationship that would not only make the new Iraq a strong ally in the war on terror but would also provide the U.S. with the infrastructure and freedom of action to project American power regionally, as do U.S. forces in Germany, Japan and South Korea. …
Any Iraqi leader would prefer a more pliant American negotiator because all countries — we’ve seen this in Germany, Japan and South Korea — want to maximize their own sovereign freedom of action while still retaining American protection.
It is no mystery who would be the more pliant U.S. negotiator. The Democrats have long been protesting the Bush administration’s hard bargaining for strategic assets in postwar Iraq. Maliki knows the Democrats are so sick of this war, so politically and psychologically committed to its liquidation, so intent on doing nothing to vindicate “Bush’s war,” that they simply want out with the least continued American involvement.
Which is why Maliki gave Obama that royal reception, complete with the embrace of his heretofore problematic withdrawal timetable.
I don’t find this analysis surprising at all. Europe has long taken advantage of the security that America provides while making grand gestures to its citizenry that they are, in fact, sovereign. I feel that Maliki will push this further, to broaden appeal with the populace. When push comes to shove, though, and faced with the prospect of being yet another Iranian puppet, I think we all know to whom Maliki will turn.