A senior Pentagon official has been on a fortnight tour of little-known European and Eurasian capitals trying to deliver a dribble of troops for Iraq and Afghanistan. As the NYT notes “The low-profile trip reads more like a geography test than a geostrategic foray.” Debra Cagan, the deputy assistant secretary of defense for coalition affairs, has toured places like Tirana, Skopje, Chisinau and Astana, among others. The trip is a desperate attempt to keep as many flags flying in Iraq as possible so that media can still talk of a “coalition”. The 168,000 U.S. troops account for about 94% of the forces there. The largest other contributor, UK, is below 3% and will halve its presence to 2,500 next year. The modest contributions of emerging countries will be repayed with trade and investment, but the reality is that even media patience with the delusion of Iraq is waning.