June 15, 2008 | National Review Online

Maliki’s Moment

 The Washington Post notes in an editorial that Iraqi Prime Minister Maliki has had the courage to stand up to Iran and emphasize his desire for a long-strategic partnership with the U.S.

The Post notes that this

would seem to be an obvious U.S. gain in what, according to Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) as well as President Bush, is the urgent task of countering Iran’s attempt to dominate the Middle East. It means that Iraq, a country with the world’s second largest oil reserves and a strategic linchpin of the Middle East, just might emerge from the last five years of war and turmoil as an American ally, even if its relations with Iran remain warm. So it’s hard to fathom why Democrats in Congress have joined Ayatollah Khamenei in denouncing the U.S.-Iraqi agreements even before they are written. …

If the United States were to make a formal commitment to defend Iraq from external aggression, congressional consideration and approval of the pact would be appropriate. For now, the biggest risk is that Tehran and its allies will pressure Mr. Maliki into backing away from a partnership with Washington. In that case, Iran would hasten to substitute itself as Iraq’s defender and strategic ally, with momentous implications for the rest of the Middle East. Surely this is not what the Democrats want.

Unnoted but implicit is the extent to which Iraq’s elected government is becoming not just a real government but one that is increasingly sophisticated, vigorous and bold in pursuit of Iraq’s national interests (which overlap with America’s national interests).