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Sunday, September 03, 2006

The Neville who didn't sing, and the Henry that did 

I go on vacation for a couple of days, and pundits (emphasis on the "dit") take the whole Nazi thing into overdrive.

Jennifer (the Ohio one) quotes Brendan Nyhan:

As a foreign policy debate with conservatives grows longer, the probability of a comparison with the appeasement of Nazis or Hitler approaches inevitability.

Tony Pierce (the California one) quotes Keith Olbermann:

Thus, did Mr. Rumsfeld make an apt historical analogy.

Excepting the fact, that he has the battery plugged in backwards.

His government, absolute -- and exclusive -- in its knowledge, is not the modern version of the one which stood up to the Nazis.

It is the modern version of the government of Neville Chamberlain.

In response, I ended up comparing our Iranian policy to a conservative (Kissinger) policy, rather than a neo-conservative (Cheney) one. Specifically, the idea of bribing Iran to stay out of the nuclear community sounded to me like a classic Kissinger national self-interest move.

Maybe it's a good time to check out what Kissinger is actually saying, or sort of saying. From a Robert Robb column in the Arizona Republic:

Kissinger is still too much a diplomat, and perhaps a politician, to directly criticize the Bush administration and, in particular, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, whom he says he holds in high regard.

Nevertheless, he manages to convey that he believes that his approach of active, direct diplomacy is better.

Such an approach, according to Kissinger, helps to rally your own people, enables you to better define the issues, and if you need to "get tough," makes it easier to explain why.

This doesn't involve just jumping on a plane and flying to Tehran to talk things out. Kissinger doesn't believe that negotiations necessarily create their own momentum. However, he certainly believes that direct engagement has more benefits than risks....

Kissinger, however, seems to believe the threat can be managed through such an alliance, involving the United States, Europe, and moderate Arab states to contain and control "state-like organizations that use terrorism," such as Hezbollah.

Exactly what such an alliance would do, or how it would circumnavigate the Sunni-Shia divide, isn't clear. However, Kissinger clearly believes that there is some tension between the Bush administration's freedom-and-democracy agenda and what needs to be done practically in the region to manage the terrorist threat....

From the Ontario Empoblog (Latest OVVA news here)

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