Because Obama has committed the United States to withdraw from Afghanistan starting in 2011, everyone in the region is starting to turn to the Iranians as their protectors. Hamid Karzai announced that he too, could become a Taliban. All over the Middle East, they are laughing at us.
All this plays out under the gaze of an Islamic world that is coming to a consensus that a discernible American retreat in the region is in the works. America’s enemies are increasingly brazen, its friends unnerved. Witness the hapless Lebanese, once wards of U.S. power, now making pilgrimages, one leader at a time, to Damascus. They, too, can read the wind: If Washington is out to “engage” that terrible lot in Syria, they better scurry there to secure reasonable terms of surrender.
The shadow of American power is receding; the rogues are emboldened.