Just Visiting

Biden Does Baghdad

Usually when high-level American officials visit Iraq, they're in and out of the country as soon as possible. Joe Biden has a two-day stay-over in the country where he made a surprise appearance today. His trip comes on the heels of America’s troop pullback and on the same day that the Iraq government reached a tentative agreement to purchase armaments from France, a renewal of strong relations that existed between Iraq and France prior to the American invasion. It is, in the words of The New York Times, a "pivotal moment" for Iraqi-American relations, not least of all which Americans lead the White House’s contact with the wartorn nation: Whereas President Bush took a “deeply personal interest in Iraq,” the Times notes that Obama has ceded day-to-day Iraqi relations to proxies such as ambassador Christopher Hill, Gen. Ray Odierno, and Biden. Biden's son, Beau, is stationed in Iraq with the Army National Guard. Aides say they will probably see each other during the visit.