Saturday, July 22, 2006

A better analogy than Vietnam

I am not a good enough student of history to be able to make the argument, but I have been concerned for several days that as the Israelis continue to inflame and provoke, there is a precedent even more horrifying than America's Waterloo. But Yglesias is, and he confirms my intuition:
The current dynamic, in essence, is that various elements -- mostly in the United States and in Israel, but also elsewhere throughout the West -- see Hezbollah's cross-border raid as providing a useful pretext for launching a preventative war against what's seen as rising Iranian and Hezbollah power. You can get a flavor of this line of thinking from the Washington Post's headline "In Mideast Strife, Bush Sees a Step To Peace".

In 1914, Germany viewed war with Russia as inevitable and thought it was better to fight sooner rather than later and therefore sought opportunities to get into war. Similarly, when it took office, the Bush administration was convinced that war with Iraq was inevitable and began casting about for opportunities to fight one. As of a month ago, Bush and Israeli leaders were convinced that despite the Cedar Revolution and six years of waning Israel-Hezbollah tensions that war was inevitable, and now they’ve found an opportunity to fight it. Significant elements of American opinion likewise see a clash with Iran as inevitable and have been persistently trying for the past several years to find a saleable pretext for starting one, and many see the current crisis as promising in that regard.

Santayana was an optimist.


Blogger Tom said...

Um . . . 1941, not 1914.

6:09 PM  
Blogger bluememe said...

Actually, Tom, the analogy IS to WWI. The quote I used was incomplete and thus a bit confusing, but what is happening now is reminding a lot of people of the way everybody seized on the assasination of the Archduke in 1914 as an excuse to go start the war they all really wanted.

9:18 AM  
Blogger Tom said...

I guess it's numerodyslexically significant that they thought the same thing in 1941 that they thought in 1914.

The results in 1914: the end of empires

The results in 1941: the collapse of the aggressors

I guess the analogy works with either date, and it isn't good for us.

8:09 AM  
Blogger Peter Patau said...

From the beginning, the Israeli bombing campaign in Lebanon has looked like the first step of a larger, Washington-directed campaign against Iran, aimed at completely remaking the Middle East. It just didn't make any sense otherwise -- all this destruction for two hostages? Come on... Unfortunately, this utopian neocon vision is completely mad. Bush to planet Earth: Drop dead!

4:30 PM  
Blogger Tom said...

I do the simple-minded stuff in my web log:

It's a crazy plan, but it just might not work

Send troops to Lebanon to scare the Syrians.

Send troops to Syria to scare the Iranians.

Send troops to Iran to scare the rest of the Muslims.

In the meantime, send more troops to Baghdad to firm up our grip in Iraq.

Hold in reserve the troops we'll need to send to Kabul to re-crush the Taliban, al Qaeda and Osama bin Laden.

1:10 PM  

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