ON IRAQ, IT’S DÉJÀ VU

ON IRAQ, IT’S DÉJÀ VU ALL OVER AGAIN: One of the benefits of going on vacation is that it permits some perspective on the myriad cycles of news and commentary. On Iraq, I can’t escape the feeling of déjà vu. The current cycle of opinion seems like a replay of September/October all over again — ...

By , a professor of international politics at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University and co-host of the Space the Nation podcast.

ON IRAQ, IT'S DÉJÀ VU ALL OVER AGAIN: One of the benefits of going on vacation is that it permits some perspective on the myriad cycles of news and commentary. On Iraq, I can't escape the feeling of déjà vu. The current cycle of opinion seems like a replay of September/October all over again -- publics/pundits feeling queasy about aggressive action, antiwar activists decrying U.S. imperialism, European leaders either categorically rejecting the U.S. position or calling for more time for "the process" to sort itself out, Russia constantly hemming and hawing, China shrugging its shoulders, and Iraq flipping the bird to anyone and everyone. Then -- presto! -- Bush makes a compelling speech that points out the implications for the security of the U.S. and the prestige of the U.N. if no action is taken. Which means: 1) Public support for action shoots up in the United States. 2) Allied leaders rally to the U.S. position. 3) Iraq flips the bird to the world. 4) Bush moves the multilateral consensus ever closer to his position. The final kicker for déjà vu came this weekend: The New York Times published an antiwar argument that appeared elsewhere two months ago. [Does that make it an unworthy argument?--ed. Hardly. As I've previously noted, it's a good but not impregnable argument. But why would the Times choose to recycle it after it's been in the public domain for two months?]

ON IRAQ, IT’S DÉJÀ VU ALL OVER AGAIN: One of the benefits of going on vacation is that it permits some perspective on the myriad cycles of news and commentary. On Iraq, I can’t escape the feeling of déjà vu. The current cycle of opinion seems like a replay of September/October all over again — publics/pundits feeling queasy about aggressive action, antiwar activists decrying U.S. imperialism, European leaders either categorically rejecting the U.S. position or calling for more time for “the process” to sort itself out, Russia constantly hemming and hawing, China shrugging its shoulders, and Iraq flipping the bird to anyone and everyone. Then — presto! — Bush makes a compelling speech that points out the implications for the security of the U.S. and the prestige of the U.N. if no action is taken. Which means: 1) Public support for action shoots up in the United States. 2) Allied leaders rally to the U.S. position. 3) Iraq flips the bird to the world. 4) Bush moves the multilateral consensus ever closer to his position. The final kicker for déjà vu came this weekend: The New York Times published an antiwar argument that appeared elsewhere two months ago. [Does that make it an unworthy argument?–ed. Hardly. As I’ve previously noted, it’s a good but not impregnable argument. But why would the Times choose to recycle it after it’s been in the public domain for two months?]

Daniel W. Drezner is a professor of international politics at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University and co-host of the Space the Nation podcast. Twitter: @dandrezner

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