The al-Maliki Vote

Hmm. While the blogosphere has been saying that PM Maliki's "endorsement" of Barack Obama's timetable for withdrawal was mistranslated, Krauthammer says that's exactly what it was.

Whether warranted or not, Maliki's very confidence allows him to set out a rapid timetable for U.S. withdrawal, albeit conditioned on continuing improvement in the security situation -- a caveat Obama generally omits. But Maliki calculates that no U.S. president, whatever his campaign promises, would be insane enough to lose Iraq after all that has been gained and then be saddled with a newly chaotic Iraq that would poison his presidency.

Krauthammer says Maliki is looking ahead to the long-term relationship between the US & Iraq, and is looking for a pliant negotiator, so as to maximize US protections while minimizing Iraqi obligations.

Obama was likely to be president anyway. He is likelier now still. Moreover, he not only agrees with Maliki on minimizing the U.S. role in postwar Iraq. He now owes him. That's why Maliki voted for Obama, casting the earliest and most ostentatious absentee ballot of this presidential election.
As I say, hmm. Of course Maliki's going to want to be on good terms with the likely next President, but a timetable based on actual conditions is still more like McCain's position than like Obama's no-matter-what attitude --which he tried to back away from and then had to re-embrace.