Hawks like Jennifer Rubin are blaming President Obama for increasing Iran's geopolitical influence, but they ought to blame themselves
On Jennifer Rubin's page at The Washington Post, the Iraq war supporter wrote a post today that she teased on Twitter by writing, "WHO KNEW Iran would be emboldened and allies freaked on US withdrawal from Iraq? Oh, everyone on the right..." Her item proceeds to argue that "Secretary of State Hillary Clinton can issue idle threats, warning Iran not to 'miscalculate' our devotion to the region, but perhaps it is the Obama team that has once again miscalculated. This was precisely the reaction that critics of the complete troop withdrawal anticipated."
If only these "critics of withdrawal" had anticipated the inevitability of Iran's ascendance before they called for the invasion of Iraq. As Malou Innocent patiently explains, "No amount of prewar planning or 'boots on the ground' could have prevented the Islamic Republic's political push into a neighboring country with a 60 percent Shiite majority. The removal of Saddam Hussein as the principal strategic counterweight to Iran paved the way for the expansion of Iranian influence in Iraq, and has enabled Tehran to back, with far greater impunity, its political allies in Baghdad. Even before 9/11, Iran possessed a budding nuclear program, the region's largest population, an expansive ballistic-missile arsenal, and significant influence over the Lebanese Shiite group Hezbollah. By adding to that list enhanced political influence in Iraq, Iran can be somewhat more assertive geo-politically in the region, further limiting US policy options."