Friday, June 11, 2004

I I used to spend a lot of rhetoric dumping on Fred Kaplan of Slate, so I suppose I ought to balance the karmic scales by pointing out a really decent, sensible article on Reagan's responsibility for the end of the cold war. I was quite surprised to find myself in near-total agreement with almost all of his points. It's balanced, well-thought-out, and accurate - characteristics which I have yet to discover in his analysis of recent events. Perhaps his forte is more in history than current affairs?

I especially liked his point that the first Bush administration dropped the ball with the Soviets in their first year. I hadn't noticed this when it was going on, but in retrospect he's correct. For all of the first Bush administration's alleged experience in international diplomacy, they really did flail about during the Communist collapse. The later diplomatic successes associated with the Gulf War tends to drown out those earlier failures, and the steady tide of good news during the chaos obscured how little the Bush administration had to do with it all.

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