The Corner

Shrewd, irresponsible grandstanding

Democrats are calling for Maliki’s invitation to speak before a joint session of Congress to be revoked in light of his comments critical of Israel and supportive of Hezbollah. This strikes me as foolish and irresponsible, but probably good politics. Maliki is clearly playing to his domestic audience, as is to expected from a democratically elected office-holder in a precarious position in that part of the world. We should look the other way. I don’t care too much what Maliki says, so long as he manages to secure Baghdad. Indeed, it would be reckless for him to spend any political capital on defending Israel, when he has so many other important tasks on his plate. But, since the Democrats don’t have to worry about trying to manage complex foreign-policy problems at the moment, they are in the perfect position to take pot-shots, and–as I have argued before–they are always on their strongest ground when they can attack Bush from a nationalist, hawkish posture, i.e. “This guy Maliki isn’t enough of a U.S. ally.”

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