As the latest Middle East crisis goes from bad to worse, one thing is now completely obvious: the United States has virtually no leverage. When the fantasy policy George W. Bush shares in private with his lapdog Tony is getting Kofi Annan to lean on Syria to lean on Hezbollah, you know we’re up the proverbial polluted estuary with no plausible means of propulsion.
A successful occupation of Iraq leading to the installation of a powerful and friendly government there might indeed have increased our influence over the region. But a long counterinsurgency campaign that ties up so much of our military capacity that we can’t credibly threaten ground action anywhere else in the world, and the creation of 130,000 potential hostages should we do anything that sufficiently annoys Iran, has the opposite effect.
Only blind loyalty to GWB as a political figure or to the neocon imperial dream could make it impossible to see such an obvious set of relationships. The argument for getting out of Iraq ASAP just got a whole bunch stronger.