Jonah Goldberg

Most troubling, as Fred and Kimberly Kagan document in the current issue of National Review, Iraq is rapidly becoming an Iranian vassal state. When President Obama entered office, we had nearly 150,000 troops in Iraq and much sway over the course that nation took. Now we have 150 and almost no sway. Sectarian violence is up, and al-Qaeda in Iraq is resurgent.

Meanwhile, note the Kagans (the intellectuals who helped craft the Iraq surge strategy), Iraqi airspace has become a "critical lifeline for the vicious regime of Bashar Assad," as he kills thousands of his own people in Syria.

They also note that Iraq has become an essential pathway for Iran to circumvent the sanctions intended to prevent it from pursuing a nuclear bomb.

There's a dark irony to all of this. At least until the killing of bin Laden, Obama kept foreign policy out of the headlines so he could concentrate on domestic policy. Even after bin Laden's death, when Obama started to tout foreign policy to compensate for a sputtering economy, the message was that under Obama, there's no drama.

The quiet yet massive increase in drone-strike killings, the reluctance to support democratic regime change in Iran, saying yes to the Afghan surge while insisting on an expiration date, his unwillingness to push for a continued presence in Iraq, his capitulation to Bush policies on Guantanamo Bay and domestic terror trials, the administration's reflexive spinning of thwarted and actual terrorism attacks (the Times Square and "underwear" bombers, the Fort Hood shooting) as "isolated incidents" -- all gave the impression there was nothing to worry about with Obama at the helm.

But making problems easy to ignore isn't the same thing as solving them. How fitting, then, that the game of kick-the-can faltered just five weeks from Election Day.

Jonah Goldberg

Jonah Goldberg is editor-at-large of National Review Online,and the author of the forthcoming book The Tyranny of Clichés. You can reach him via Twitter @JonahNRO.
 
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