In tonight's speech on the end of combat operations in Iraq, Barack Obama has a chance to show that he’s finally learned something about geostrategy. “Of course, if he did, it would mean abandoning much of what he advocated during his election campaign,” writes John Bolton for the Daily Beast. Critics of the war in Iraq, Bolton explains, have often complained that Bush picked the "wrong target," that Iran was the real threat, and that the invasion of Iraq and toppling of Saddam Hussein only served to strengthen it.
“That criticism was always simplistic,” Bolton says. “The Iran threat was always there, and metastasizing, no matter what the United States did about Saddam.” But now, these same critics are celebrating our exit from Iraq, seemingly oblivious that “the consequence of an Obama policy that continues the withdrawal of American forces down to zero in Iraq would unquestionably strengthen Iran.” If Obama announces a full withdrawal tonight, Bush critics will cheer. But they’ll wind up with “precisely the opposite of what they say they wanted.”