I Make My Own Luck

Dan Balz reviews Obama's trip to Iraq: "But the curious turn of events made for an unexpected opening act for the Democrat's week-long tour of seven countries, demonstrating anew the combination of agility and good fortune that has marked his campaign."

There's no denying that good fortune played a role here, but one does need to consider the possibility that Obama got "lucky" here because he and his team, unlike John McCain and his team, aren't driven by hubris and neo-imperial fantasies. Maliki doesn't like the McCain plan for open-ended occupation because it's not politically tenable in Iraq. And one reason Obama and other progressives have long opposed open-ended occupation is precisely because we realized that it's not politically tenable in Iraq. Obama got "lucky" with the timing (or, rather, Maliki seems to have decided to help him out) but in an important sense what carried the day here was that Obama's policy is sensitive to realities in Iraq in a way that McCain's isn't.