The Economist, on Monday, wrote about a proposed plan for the US in Iraq. Happily, it’s better than the administration’s present policy of doing nothing. It’s excessively sanguine about the Iraqi army’s chances — yes, it’s much larger than ISIS, but the US Army was much larger than the NVA and Viet Cong too — but, it does make sense. A limited intensity campaign of air strikes and naval power (which the article does not mention, but this story from RIA Novosti does), coupled with special forces and aid to the Iraqi army, might help. But the article is probably right that Iran will continue to dominate Iraq because a) they want to, b) it’s beneficial for them to do so, and c) they’re neighbors and co-religionists (the Sunni-Shi’ia split notwithstanding).
The American people have already shown they won’t tolerate additional and more persistent use of force in order to prop up the Iraqi regime. I think the US is focusing on pursuing what I’d call a “blackjack foreign policy” — unlike poker, which can be for high stakes, blackjack is the kind of game that’s relatively easy to break even on. You won’t win a lot, but you won’t lose a lot either unless you’re incredibly bad. Limited involvement is better than pure isolationism, 1920s style, which is what I think a goodly portion of the GOP wants. The Democrats hoped that rainbows and ponies and magic would fix the Middle East and seem surprised it didn’t work.
I have little hope of seeing any sort of positive results out of the present administration’s foreign policy. If Iraq is signaling a shift, that’s good news. I would be delighted to see one President with a clear, logical, foreign policy agenda during my adult years.