It could be that Obama’s foreign policy is a brilliant reassessment. It could be that the Washington foreign-policy establishment he so reviles — see Jeffrey Goldberg’s piece in the Atlantic — is stuck in the amber of lessons learned from World War II and the Cold War. I know that I am, but I do not know that these lessons are irrelevant to our day. Hitler was evil. Stalin was evil. The reluctance and, in some cases, sheer inability of key aspects of U.S. leadership to appreciate these facts doomed millions of people.
I’m with Richard Cohen on this. History certainly does not repeat itself, but the administration is ignoring the echoes. The world is looking more like 1914 – or 1936 – than it is 1989, so it looks like we will be forced to re-learn the painful lesson of the 20th century: peace at all costs just means that peace will be more costly.