April 21, 2003

Kennedy's Back! Well, at least

Kennedy's Back!

Well, at least Paul Kennedy, author of the gloomy late '80's tome "The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers." In a lengthy WaPo outlook section piece, Kennedy dusts off the old opus and recycles it, tells us why we aren't on our way to Damascus (or Teheran) now (but might be soon, he implausibly argues), and reminds us of all the problems the hapless Brits had in the Middle East early in the last century.

Put this one in the poor prognostications department (will he ever learn?). As I've argued before, no Washington consensus exists now (or will exist during this Administration) that calls for taking out the regimes in Syria and Iran by force and occupying those countries in "Empire"-like fashion, while pressuring the Saudis, Egyptians and other assorted Arab leaders to democratize with dispatch or face American retribution.

Instead, we have removed a sadistic despot with WMD capability from the scene and are now proceeding to have, through diplomatic (and perhaps economic) pressure, neighboring governments reform their behavior when it comes to WMD-possession or support of global terror groups. Contemporaneously, I trust, pressure will be applied in both Tel Aviv and Ramallah to make headway on "roadmap" implementation.

Is this tantamount to taking on Kipling's "white man's burden" as Kennedy, in cliched fashion, trots out at the end of his op-ed?

Posted by Gregory at April 21, 2003 05:37 PM
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