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Charles Krauthammer's Refreshing Dip Into Selective History

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Charles Krauthammer is fifty-seven years old, a Pulitzer Prize-winning syndicated columnist and commentator, appearing regularly as a guest commentator on Fox News. His neocon perspectives can be read in the the Washington Post, Time Magazine, and The Weekly Standard, William Kristol’s increasingly irrelevant magazine. The Post must keep him on board for their difficult (and not always well-defined) role of providing balance in a society that has lost its sense of balance.

Whatever.

Charles sports an honors degree in political science and economics, but /(according to me) he uses history selectively in support of his various arguments Treatises that are invariably supportive of George Bush and the Iraq war, as well as unfailingly validatory of Israel. 

In a WaPo editorial today, titled France Flips While Congress Shifts, he writes

Ahmadinejad at Columbia provided the entertainment, but Sarkozy at the United Nations provided the substance. On the largest possible stage -- the U.N. General Assembly -- President Nicolas Sarkozy put Iran on notice. His predecessor, Jacques Chirac, had said that France could live with an Iranian nuclear bomb. Sarkozy said that France cannot. He declared Iran's nuclear ambitions "an unacceptable risk to stability in the region and in the world."

How much France may have flipped is far from determined and will take more than a statement at the U.N--a statement that more nearly announces Sarkozy’s arrival on the world stage than it does change the mix in Europe. France is heavily Muslim, heavily invested in Iran and ‘nuclear ambitions’ are in the eye of the beholder—Iran claims a need for nuclear energy.

His foreign minister, Bernard Kouchner, had said earlier that the world faces two choices -- successful diplomacy to stop Iran's nuclear program or war. And Sarkozy himself has no great hopes for the Security Council, where China and Russia are blocking any effective action against Iran. He does hope to get the European Union to join the United States in imposing serious sanctions.

Well, we have war and it has done damned little for anyone involved. But it strikes me as cherry-picked history, Mr. Krauthammer. “No great hopes for the Security Council, where China and Russia are blocking any effective action against Iran” mirrors much of the world frustration with an America that has used its veto eleven times to prevent majority sanctions against Israel.

Nor have sanctions actually worked anywhere that they have been used, except to impoverish and harden the hatreds of citizens within the sanctioned countries, who unrelentingly pay the price. Saddam Hussein himself was the world’s star sanction getter-arounder, with the aid and comfort of Kofi Annan’s son.

Society in Iraq paid a horrific price, while Saddam built an additional dozen palaces.

. . . The East Europeans are naturally pro-American for reasons of history (fresh memories of America's role in defeating their Soviet occupiers) and geography (physical proximity to a newly revived and aggressive Russia). . .

The East Europeans may be pro-American, but that has far more to do with Ronald McDonald than Ronald Reagan.

Czechoslovakia (now divided into Czech Republic and Slovak Republic) was twice sold down the river in that last half of the 20th century. The first time by Chamberlain at Munich (whose country do you think he used to buy ‘peace in our time'?) and a second, perhaps even more disgraceful perfidy by Harry Truman at Potsdam.

  • Chamberlain took Czechoslovakia, the 7th most prosperous democracy in the world and exposed it willingly to the horrors of the Nazi jackboot, prisons, assassinations, hanging, the guillotine and mass theft of all private property--for peace.
  • Truman, at a Potsdam meeting with Stalin and Churchill, sentenced an eager and waiting democratic nation to 40 years behind Russia’s Iron Curtain.

Tally the fresh memories of that, Charles—nineteen years (1918-1937) of freedom and democracy in an entire century, by the outside influence of a double betrayal--England, then America. An honors degree in political science and economics isn’t worth a fart in a whirlwind without a rudimentary knowledge of history.

The French flip is only one part of the changing landscape that has given new life to Bush's Iran and Iraq policies in the waning months of his administration. The mood in Congress also has significantly shifted.

I’m not sure I’d want to bet a reputation on that particular spin of the wheel. Fear is palpable in the Congress, Republicans afraid of the disaster Republican policy has brought us and Democrats afraid of what Democrats have been afraid of since Roosevelt, their shadows. With an approval rating somewhere between 11% and 24% (depending on the poll), Congress’s mood isn’t strong enough to hang a hat on, much less a prognostication of new life for Iraq and Iran policy.

A few months ago, the question was: Will the Democratic Congress force a withdrawal from Iraq? Today the question in Congress is: What can be done to achieve success in Iraq -- most specifically, by countering Iran, which is intent on seeing us fail?

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http://www.jim-freeman.com

Jim Freeman's op-ed pieces and commentaries have appeared in The New York Times, Chicago Tribune, International Herald-Tribune, CNN, The New York Review, The Jon Stewart Daily Show and a number of magazines. His thirteen published books are (more...)
 

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