Tuesday, March 16, 2004
'Ladies and gentlemen, forty years ago almost to the day an important Presidential emissary was sent abroad by a beleaguered President of the United States. The United States was facing the prospect of nuclear war. These were the days of the Cuban Missile Crisis.'
'Several emissaries went to our principal allies. One of them was a tough-minded former Secretary of State, Dean Acheson whose mission was to brief President De Gaulle and to solicit French support in what could be a nuclear war involving not just the United States and the Soviet Union but the entire NATO Alliance and the Warsaw Pact.'
'The former Secretary of State briefed the French President and then said to him at the end of the briefing, I would now like to show you the evidence, the photographs that we have of Soviet missiles armed with nuclear weapons. The French President responded by saying, I do not wish to see the photographs. The word of the President of the United States is good enough for me. Please tell him that France stands with America.'
'Would any foreign leader today react the same way to an American emissary who would go abroad and say that country X is armed with weapons of mass destruction which threaten the United States? There’s food for thought in that question.'
Zbigniew Brzezinski. I never thought I'd see the day when I saw eye-to-eye with him, but now that I think about it, it makes sense. As terrible as U.S. policy was during the 1970s towards Africa and elsewhere in the world, it was still based on a modicum of reality. Something, however, happened between the Ford administration and Reagan. It seems that the adults in charge of foreign policy ideas in the Republican party lost the battle for hearts and minds. Again, I disagree thoroughly with both Kissinger and Brzezinski and their policies during those years, but both have come out against the war in Iraq. Kissinger disagreed (I use that in past-tense because I'm recalling an interview from a year-or-so ago) with it because it didn't address a real threat (although there is a tinge of realist thinking in the skewed logic that a war in Iraq will somehow advance the war on terrorism. Corollary question -- can the War on Terrorism be fought by proxy?). Now, Brzezinski has an excellent speech which lays out some of the big problems with a "War on Terrorism". I should point out that, yes, I know Brzezinski is a Democrat. However, there is a direct line from Kissinger through Brzezinski to the Reagan administration; at each interval the ideology changed from an old-world style of gentlemen's diplomacy to a holy battle against Communism. The holy battle idea seems to be the dominant theme in the Bush administration's "War on Terrorism", and it's that transformation which caused reason to flee out the back door. That, however, is a subject better treated by someone with a thorough grounding in U.S. electoral politics (something which I don't really have). To stick to the point, it's a crazy time when the former crazies are making sense. Maybe it's the combination of years and being out of the mainstream political struggle that gives these guys their clarity of reasoning. Anyway, go read his speech, because it's good (and, hey, he says lots of stuff I've been saying too. I'm not ashamed to admit that's one reason I like it...).
Andrew 10:39 AM : |
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