Saturday, December 18, 2004
# Posted 1:04 AM by Ariel David Adesnik
This is the disheartening tale of a noble people ignobly led. The Administration is both author and protagonist of that tale, and to the Administraiton must be read this indictment and this prophesy:This goes on for a good bit longer, so I'll cut things short right here and tell you that this was written by Hans Morgenthau. In 1951. About Harry Truman. (You can find the full text on pages 239 and 240 of In Defense of the National Interest.)
What is the significance of this surprising fact? It is hard to say. First of all, it indicates the degree to which even the best-informed scholarly opinion of the day can utterly fail to anticipate what policies will be vindicated in hindsight.
Some might read into this fact the potential for a vindication of George W. Bush five decades from now. Others will insist that George W. Bush is no Harry Truman. (Althought it might be more accurate to say that Harry Truman was no Harry Truman.)
A less partisan reading of Morgenthau's work might suggest that it points to the striking motivational power of idealistic rhetoric that invokes American ideals as well as the enduring nature of the clash between realism and idealism.
The ever-present as well as most important but hardest question to answer is which doctrine provides greater insight into the challenges of today and how, if at all, it might be possible to combine the strength of both doctrines in order to achieve an optimal outcome.
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