…if Obama sends 300 advisors there?
Think about it. As James Oliphant points out—in a piece which indicates that the writer would answer “fool” to the knave vs. fool question—”the move is a tacit acknowledgment that many of the assumptions that Obama and his foreign policy team made about the world have proven to be incorrect.”
Obama doesn’t like to backtrack or admit he was wrong about anything. He’s certainly not explicitly doing the latter, but he is explicitly doing the former, and it implies the latter. It is particularly significant that he’s doing it in an arena where, as Oliphant observes, “Iraq was a box that his administration had checked.”
Oliphant is assuming that Obama wanted things to stay stable and peaceful in Iraq. And although, unlike Oliphant, I would answer that “knave vs. fool” question “both,” I agree with him. Whatever Obama’s long-term strategic goals around the world (and I think we can agree that one thing they involve is taking America down a peg or two), he cannot have wanted to face intense public pressure to do something about an Iraq that’s collapsing despite his having declared it relatively peaceful and promising under his watch just a couple of short years ago.
And it’s ironic that he might have prevented this had he been more serious about negotiating a SOFA and leaving several thousand troops there. He still could have taken credit for taking most of the troops out, and for leaving an Iraq that was at least somewhat stable. My guess is that in this case he really believed that Iraq would not blow up under his watch, and that he could have his withdrawal cake and eat it too. I wonder if any of his advisors warned him against thinking that way, and if so which ones.