Another day, another installment in what President Obama likes to call the “receding” tide of war. On Wednesday, John Kerry threatened to cut U.S. aid to Baghdad unless the Iraqi government blocks overflights of Iranian planes suspected of ferrying military supplies to Damascus. But Baghdad isn’t budging. Welcome to the post-American Middle East, Senator.
“If so many people have entreated the [Iraqi] government to stop and that doesn’t seem to be having an impact,” said the Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee at a confirmation hearing for the new U.S. Ambassador to Iraq, then it “seems to send a signal to me maybe we should make some of our assistance or some of our support contingent on some kind of appropriate response.”
The nominee, current Baghdad chargé d’affaires Robert Beecroft, agreed, saying he has “made it very clear that we find this unacceptable.”
“Unacceptable” is a word the Administration often uses about behavior it doesn’t like but isn’t prepared to do much to stop: Think massacres in Syria, warfare in Sudan, mob violence against our embassies—or a nuclear Iran. Now add to the list the nonfeasance of an Iraqi government that calculates it has more to lose from confronting the mullahs than it does from rejecting entreaties from erstwhile friends in Washington.