Thursday, November 02, 2006

More on the unreality of realism

It's not just recently that foreign policy realism has seemed, well, unreal. Fifty years ago, 1956 saw the Hungarian Revolution and the Suez crisis. The latter in particular was a fiasco that has cost us a lot in the years since: the US sided with Nasser's Egypt and the Soviet Union against Britain, France, and Israel over Nasser's illegal seizure of the Anglo-French Suez Canal and his support for Arab guerilla attacks on Israel, just after encouraging, then failing to help, the Hungarians throw off the Soviet yoke.

Eisenhower and especially Dulles undoubtedly thought they were being sophisticated and clever. In fact, what they did was delusional and self-destructive. Later, after he left office, Eisenhower admitted as much.

Instead of explaining it myself, I'll let Arthur Herman and Martin Peretz do the talking. The Suez crisis marked the first cracks in the Western alliance and the start of the grand delusion of pan-Arabism, the immediate ancestor of the pan-Islamic virus.

POSTSCRIPT: About the failed 1956 Hungarian Revolution, see Charles Gati's remarkable new book and his talk on C-SPAN.

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