Huckleberry's History Lesson

Huckleberry's History Lesson

by digby

What a silly man:

“Well, this is about the most mismanaged situation I’ve ever seen since World War II when they were trying to to control the Nazis."

Hey,let's be fair. Those wacky Nazis were known for being incorrigible. Nobody could control them.

I don't mind historical analogies. It's how humans contextualize current events. But to go all the way back to WWII just seems so unnecessary when there have been so many despots and tyrants since then that "they" have "mismanaged." But then Huck wouldn't want to admit that, I suppose, because so many of them were friends of the American right wing --- until they weren't. It's kind of embarrassing.

Meanwhile, James Fallows offers up another piece about Syria from veteran diplomat Robert Pastor whose analysis of the regime presents the forgotten option: diplomacy. (Huckleberry would call this "appeasement" but he's an idiot.) The analysis concludes with this advice:

If the United States changed the way it looked at diplomacy, from trying to get under the skin of its adversaries to getting into their shoes, the framework of the deal could emerge. The United States should go to Russia, drop its demand that Assad must leave as a precondition for a Geneva conference, and focus instead on the political process. I believe it can persuade Russia that a more inclusive political-participation process in Syria is in Russia’s best interests, and that the question is how to stabilize the environment so that can occur. Then the United States should ask Russia to join in assembling a robust and assertive peacemaking mission in Syria to assure the security of a free election. Also, the United States should ask Russia’s help in finding a place at the negotiating table for Iran, which has already accepted a Geneva conference without preconditions and favors a power-sharing agreement that would protect all groups.

All three nations – Iran, Russia, and the United States -- would then have a stake in both negotiations and the outcome. There is no better person to orchestrate and mediate such an agreement than Lakhdar Brahimi, the UN special envoy to Syria and the person who negotiated the Taif agreement in Lebanon. All he needs is the support of the United States and the Security Council. Up until now, we have consistently undermined his efforts.

None of this would be easy, and it would be even harder to negotiate a free election and a peacekeeping force, but if you compare it to the alternatives for each of the regional and global powers, especially the United States, this diplomatic option seems the best. But it will require a great deal of political courage by the president since there are few people in Congress who would like to open up to Iran or to look as if we are making any concession to Russia. Nonetheless, this diplomatic option would pack a more effective punch than cruise missiles.

With McCain, Graham and Kerry making bellicose speeches worthy of Nikita Kruschev, it's going to be a little tough. But it's far preferable to violent intervention.