It doesn’t really mean war

Yesterday, in response to reports that there is now incontrovertible evidence that Iran is arming Shiite militias in Iraq, I wrote “so this means war, right?” I was attempting to commit irony. A properly functioning world power might well treat this sort of intervention, that so clearly undermines its military interests, by a lesser power as an act of war, and respond accordingly. Such a properly functioning power would be particularly inclined to do so given further incontrovertible evidence that the lesser power is developing nuclear weapons and has said that it favors the destruction of a major ally of the world power.
But the U.S. is not a properly functioning world power, primarily because many members of one of its two political parties don’t want it to be a world power at all. Thus, the most that “news” of Iran’s intervention in Iraq might do is cause us not to enlist Iran as our partner in the process of withdrawing from Iraq.

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