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Cold War Voodoo Nostalgia

I have to admit, I feel a twinge of longing for the good old days when our enemies were an increasingly isolated faction within a Central Committee, not a ramified squadron of raving, cave-dwelling psychotics. But it's times like these … Read More

By / March 29, 2007

I have to admit, I feel a twinge of longing for the good old days when our enemies were an increasingly isolated faction within a Central Committee, not a ramified squadron of raving, cave-dwelling psychotics. But it's times like these that I'm glad I'm not all that conservative because if you wait long enough as an inhabitant of either side of the political spectrum, you find yourself nodding along with your counterparts on the other side. Mark Steyn thinks the one diplomat to have figured Iran right was the Soviet Foreign Minister Andrei Gromyko:

Back at the start of Jimmy Carter’s hostage fiasco, I think it was Andrei Gromyko who remarked that, if the students had pulled the same stunt at the Soviet embassy, Tehran would have been a crater by lunchtime. The Iranians believed him so he never had to do it (though, as Chechnya indicates, the Russians are generally prepared to walk the walk crater-wise). Obviously, if Blair or Bush were to threaten to reduce Tehran to a crater, the mullahs would most likely conclude, on balance, that we didn’t mean it.

Now, as it happens, Gromyko (along with Eduard Shevardnazde) was very useful in his candor about Moscow's intentions right up until the fall of the Berlin Wall, intentions that were never not Marxist-Leninist in the long term. But one admires the pluck of a pundit who would flirt with powdering the one city in the Muslim world where philo-Americanism is as rampant as covert satellite televisions and samizdat editions of Western literature. What kind of message would it send to our Iranian allies in the youth and opposition movements in Tehran that we'd even bluff about reducing them all to grease spots because of the actions of a fundamentalist government they hate even more than we do?

Also, that concession that Russians will "walk the walk crater-wise" is value for money. Will Steyn's follow-up book to America Alone be titled Russia Fuck Yeah?

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