Most polls show a decided unease to preempt in Iran, at least for now. The nearly inexplicable failure to encourage the 2009 Iranian protests seems more regrettable each month. Trying to lecture and embarrass Israel the last three years led nowhere. The Syrian dissidents are now infighting. Assad, once well-spoken-of by the likes of Nancy Pelosi and Hillary Clinton, is receiving Russian arms, and seems to be silently warning to fight to the last bunker, atop supposedly massive amounts of WMD.
Libya — no U.S. congressional authorization, exceeding the much-referenced U.N. authorizations, and chaos in the postbellum era — is a blueprint for nothing. The verdict is out on the Arab Spring; but confidence mostly hinges on believing the supposedly reformed Muslim Brotherhood and affiliates either do not have broad support or are not as radical as they sound.
The once-”good war” in Afghanistan is being dissected every which way in terms of getting out without avoiding a 1975 Vietnam-like scramble. Certainly the old mantra that we took our eye off the ball in Iraq needs revisiting — given that when we put it back on Afghanistan and poured manpower and capital into the country, things either did not improve or got worse. In any case, four ground commanders in three years, diplomatic musical chairs, surges cum withdrawal deadlines, and a disengaged commander in chief did not send the message of a new administration finally bent, as promised in summer 2008, on winning the “real” or “good” war.