In a lot of ways the most newsworthy stuff in the latest WikiLeaks document dump is this Iran material discussed by Robert Farley that doesn’t particularly serve a specific political agenda. During the period when the Bush administration was making a lot of noise about Iranian activities in Iraq, a number of us regarded the speakers as not particularly credible. Julian Assange has now provided us with extensive documentation that such claims were, at a minimum, broadly and sincerely believed by the military personnel on the ground and not just a communications strategy.
Bottom line, as Farley says:
…to be clear, while I’d be reluctant to suggest that Iran had a moral or legal right to intervene in Iraq, I consider it utterly unsurprising that Iran did so; attempting to manage the political situation in a neighboring country, while simultaneously weakening a potential enemy, is something that countries do. Indignation about Iranian intervention is absurd.
Which brings us to Dexter Filkins’ article about how while the United States is attempting to achieve influence in Afghanistan through a military campaign that entails spending hundreds of billions of dollars, the Iranian government is just delivering millions in cash to Hamid Karzai’s chief of staff. That seems smart! And it seems noteworthy to me that the much tighter objective resource constraints faced by the Iranian national security apparatus seems to have inspired more creating thinking about high-productivity outlays.