This outcome has to be seen as a real letdown from the much-touted idea that the Iraqi people had voted for change in March 2010. But those hopes faded so long ago that I wonder if anyone even remembers them. After the long months of political paralysis, I suspect that most people will just be happy to have a government which can start addressing the many long-neglected issues facing Iraq. It is fortunate that despite the political paralysis, the state has largely continued to function and violence has not really increased overall despite a series of widely reported spectacular attacks. Hopefully the new government will now be able to move forcefully, quickly regain some political momentum, start addressing outstanding vital national problems, and work with the U.S. on its responsible military drawdown. At this point, that's enough.
It seems as if the Iraqis are pushing brinksmanship to heretofore unknown parameters. I remain pessimistic that this government will work as an effectively multi-sectarian entity. But, as always, if events prove me wrong, I will gladly change my mind. And I sure hope I am wrong, or, in the best possible scenario, 60 percent wrong and 40 percent right.