I don't know precisely when or how a middle-ranking power like Iran--rivaled in its immediate neighborhood alone by the likes of Turkey, Israel, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan--has somehow metamorphosed into America's mega-foe thereby presenting us with a full-blown "Cold War II" (I kid you not, do click through the link), but apparently among a certain bien pensant Beltway set this is what passes for foreign policy deep-think these days. I know I will be accused by some alienated or disgruntled readers for engaging in foreign policy analysis via resort to heaping doses of condescension, but apart from pleading time constraints (in terms of not spelling out in more detail the bill of particulars re: why this is so absurd), really, this is one of those res ipsa type things, no?
OMG: A Green Curtain!!1! And what is it exactly that has made Iran's shadow grow so large and menacing? Could it be ... SATAN??
No. It was us.
We had the clever idea of ending several decades of successful containment of Iran by cleverly transforming Iraq from Iran's biggest regional counterweight into a chaotic failed state "led", if that is the right word, by people with close ties to Iran.
In the process, we even more cleverly pinned our troops down right where Iran could get at them, and gave them every incentive to do what they could to keep us tied down there by hinting that as soon as we were finished with Iraq, it would be time to take down Teheran. We can't get out unless the Maliki government succeeds, and so even though it is led by Shi'as and friendly to Iran, we are funding and supporting it, and trying to do so without empowering Iran, which is, um, impossible. At the same time, we are trying to contain Iranian influence in the region and mollify our increasingly nervous Sunni allies by by selling lots and lots of weapons -- $20 billion worth -- to the delightful government of Saudi Arabia. But guess what? Saudi Arabia is arming -- of course -- the insurgents who are fighting against the Maliki government -- the very same government that we are trying to prop up!