Saturday, April 14, 2012

I Agree With Henry Kissinger (Eeeeeek!!!)

In the 4/13/12 Washington Post, David Ignatius has a story, "Kissinger's lesson for a new Iran." Apparently Ignatius is teaching a course this semester at Harvard and as a result was invited to a grand reconciliation between Harvard and Henry Kissinger, with the 88-year old latter giving a long speech about diplomatic history with nods at current events.

So, although he used to bloviate about the 1648 Treaty of Westphalia, this speech focused on the 1815 Congress of Vienna and how supposedly wonderfully Metternich and Castlereagh reordered post-Napoleonic Europe into the stable and peaceful (if reactionary) "Concert of Europe" that would last for a century despite the occasional hiccup like the Crimean and Franco-Prussian Wars. The story was about integrating an "upstart" nation (France then) that is more a "cause than a nation" into the broader context of the international family of nations and balance of power that was initially set up in 1648.

So, the current story is that Iran has been and continues to be like Napoleonic France, more a cause than a nation, and that what is needed for it is to overcome that and become a regular country in the now ongoing nuclear negotiations. I do not know if this will happen, but for once I agree with the old rascal. One sign it might happen is that for the first time the mainsteam US media is finally reporting Khamenei's fatwa against nuclear weapons, although most of them are reporting his most recent reaffirmations of this, not noting that he issued it many years ago and also failing to notice its deeply religious foundation.

However, all we can do is hope that indeed an outcome will be achieved that will bring about a major improvement of the prospects for world peace (not to mention a lowering of oil prices) and maybe even a longer process of finally integrating Iran into the world community of nations. Maybe the serious people there are finally beginning to accept that their revolution of 33 years ago is not bringing about the reappearance of the Hidden Imam (the Shi'a version of the Second Coming), and that they must accommodate and come to terms with the rest of the world.

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