Sunday, December 11, 2005

The 'realist'

For anyone who hates the neo-conservatives so much that they look back with nostalgia to the 'realist' school of foreign policy, here is a cautionary tale, from a TV programme produced by Norma Percy (not the most recent one, but an earlier one: '50 Years' War: Israel and the Arabs'. As early as Nasser's funeral, the Americans were surprised to receive overtures from his successor, Anwar Sadat. (In case you believe the Adam Curtis version of history, Egypt was largely a Soviet client up to that time.) Sadat proposed a deal with Israel, which was rebuffed by Golda Meir. The Egyptians turned to the US. Kissinger told Sadat, "If all you have is a problem, I cannot deal with it. But if it becomes a crisis, then I can intervene." Sadat drew the conclusion that there was no hope of a peaceful solution and started plotting for what became known as the Yom Kippur War in 1973. We were given the impression at the time that Kissinger was such a genius, a 'modern Machiavelli', but what he said was just f**king stupid.
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Boris Berezovsky, in BBC's series 'Russian Godfathers', claimed at the time that he was not funding the Ukrainian revolution, but it turned out later that he had been providing money toYushenko's supporters. Not that that means there was not genuine popular support behind it.

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