Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Writing Future History

Always a dangerous game, but usually too provocative to ignore. And it's Niall Ferguson, who, I'm sorry to say, was right about the outcome of America's adventure in Iraq (i.e.: We don't have the guts and the patience to be a real empire, and only imperialist tactics and a long commitment would have succeeded in turning that patchwork into a nation). Here, he looks back on what we're not doing about Iran:

The devastating nuclear exchange of August 2007 represented not only the failure of diplomacy, it marked the end of the oil age. Some even said it marked the twilight of the West. Certainly, that was one way of interpreting the subsequent spread of the conflict as Iraq's Shi'ite population overran the remaining American bases in their country and the Chinese threatened to intervene on the side of Teheran.

Yet the historian is bound to ask whether or not the true significance of the 2007-2011 war was to vindicate the Bush administration's original principle of pre-emption. For, if that principle had been adhered to in 2006, Iran's nuclear bid might have been thwarted at minimal cost. And the Great Gulf War might never have happened.