A strategic struggle is taking place over Iraq between America and Iran. Fire always plays with fire. What strategy, what fire, what play?
For Americans, the play was to remake Iraq that will result in a democratic, pluralistic society that is conducive to regional stability.
But since deep in their hearts, Americans don’t foresee such an outcome plausible for Iraq, they are quick to get down to strategy, saying democratic transformation should not be the focal point of our Middle East policy or the sole measure of success in Iraq.
Boiled down to it essence, they are now saying let’s keep it real and opt for the remaking of regional stability, that is to keep the Americans in, the Iranians out, and the Iraqis down.
The Iranian play has a hyper-Nietzschean misology: “The wisdom of the bird is to sing.” So let’s help our Iraqi brothers to bring about a Shiite theocracy in Iran’s image. Strategy is never present; it is only a play of religiousness and Shiite brotherhood.
But straightaway, as Iranians were getting poetic, the Iraq’s Prime Minister, Maliki, traveled to Tehran and delivered the bad news: the bird is dead. So be it. We, Iraqis, are a tough breed, and jealous of our independence.
Strategy! Play no more!
Maliki made it clear: Iraq would decide its own future, but it would not be a launching pad for a U.S. military campaign against Iran.
For the Iranians, the play is the equivalent of strategy–strategy is the play of forces. Inverted American strategy, thus, becomes Iranian strategy, that is to keep the Americans out, the Iranians in, and the Iraqis close.
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