Obama proving to be supreme pragmatist

A malign shade named Iraq has returned to haunt America's nascent 2016 presidential campaign. The past few days, beginning with the humiliating fall of Ramadi to IS, and ending with its seizure of the last government-controlled crossing point from next-door Syria, has offered proof of how dreadfully wrong things have gone since the last US combat troops left Iraq at the end of 2011 — a step that was supposed to draw a final line under eight years of war. Of course, the shade of Iraq has never gone away. In good measure, Barack Obama owed his crucial victory over Hillary Clinton in the 2008 primaries to his opposition to George W Bush's "dumb war".

Four years later, completion of the pull-out undoubtedly helped him win a second presidential term, as he fulfilled a promise that was supported by a country which by then regarded the 2003 invasion as a...

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