Is America Losing Its Credibility with the Middle East?
Photo: USA.gov (CC0)
You should cringe whenever you hear that the United States is calling upon some government to do this or that, which happens very often these days. It usually means that the United States has found no way to convince, incentivize or pressure that government to do what needs to be done (from the viewpoint of the United States). Indeed, “calling upon” is often a public affairs cover-up for inaction. Thus, most recently Secretary of State Tillerson called upon the Iranian-backed militias in Iraq to “go home” now that the territorial war against the Islamic State is being won. It was unclear whether Tillerson was telling them to return to Iran or merely to their homes in Iraq. Although the militias are armed, guided and financed by Iran, the foot soldiers are Iraqi Shias. Still, the Iraqi prime minister did not even dignify the call with a courtesy demurral, something along the lines of “this is something to consider.” Instead, he stated flatly that the militias were “Iraqi patriots” and hence presumably to be venerated and maintained rather than disbanded.