As I write these words on Thursday morning, there is one big question regarding relations between the U.S., Iran and Iraq and it has nothing to do with anything former Vice President Cheney will say. The question is this:

Will the government of Iran use its influence with the Shi'ite dominated government of Iraq to urge the Iraqi government to reach out to Sunnis and Kurds for national unity? If the answer is yes, it would be a very important moment in the history of relations between the United States, Iran and Iraq. Without some form of unity within Iraq, the overwhelming probability is a full return to bloody and grotesque sectarian war. If the Iraqi government under Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki or any successor government does reach out in good faith to Sunnis and Kurds, it will be a profound moment for all parties to reach a sensible and reasonable solution that defeats the butchers of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and avoids the sectarian carnage that would be a disaster for all concerned.

Cheney and his fellow neocons who were so wrong about Iraq, and who did so much damage, should be apologizing for their mistakes and not opining with attacks against those they oppose with their partisan ideological zeal.

As for the U.S. and Iran, watch for one thing, and one thing only: Does Iran play a constructive role urging Maliki and his government to reach out to Sunnis and Kurds for national unity, or not? The answer to this question will be a defining moment in relations between the U.S., Iran and Iraq.

Budowsky was an aide to former Sen. Lloyd Bentsen (D-Texas) and former Rep. Bill Alexander (D-Ark.), who was then chief deputy majority whip of the House. He holds an LL.M. degree in international financial law from the London School of Economics. Contact him at