Christopher Hitchens is trying to come up with reasons that US troops should stay in Afghanistan. One is to deter our old friends the Iranians from invading other countries. But of course he needs to come up with a country that they might invade --
Among the extremists in Tehran, there have already been bellicose noises about Bahrain, for example: a monarchical Arab mini-state with a majority Shiite population that some claim to be rightfully Persian. Given the rapid progress that it has made toward nuclear capability, and the no-less-rapid way that it has alienated its own people, the temptation for the Ahmadinejad regime to "busy giddy minds with foreign quarrels" and to appeal to tribal and religious emotions is already fairly great. Now, try to picture the foregoing equation with the U.S. military presence removed [from Afghanistan], let alone with it having admitted defeat.
There's just one problem.
Keeping a US military presence in Afghanistan to deter an Iranian invasion of Bahrain seems a tad redundant when there already is a huge US military presence in Bahrain.
On the other hand, if there's anything fishy about a Saudi Arabian victory over Bahrain in their World Cup qualifier on Wednesday night, the Iranians might get some quality rhetoric out of it. But militarily, they aren't going anywhere.