Some of the big focal points in my recent book (does 2008 still count as recent?) were the silent dogs: the countries that did not engage in irredentism (Hungary, Romania and Russia). The silent dog bit comes from Sherlock Holmes, I believe, who noted in some case about the dog that did not bark when one could expect it to do so. So, silence can be an overlooked clue.
Why am I raising this now? Because Americans have not been dying in big numbers in Iraq, and things have been going pretty well despite the pullout of the troops from the cities, and these non-events do not get as much attention as white folks feeling oppressed in the US. Check out Marc Lynch's take on this: "Winding down America's involvement in Iraq without disaster is nothing to scoff at."
I think it is nice to know that the Iranians are about as limited in their influence as we are. As mentioned earlier in this blog, Iraqi nationalism pushed against the Iranian influence. It might mean that although xenophobia is just a completely negative phenomenon in the US, it can be a mixed blessing or better than that elsewhere as Iraqi nationalism constrains the US and Iran in Iraq.
Finally, the US keeping a commitment should be noticed even if it is because it can be so rare or at least seen as such.