Jumping to Confusions

The fall of Milosevic does not vindicate U.S. Balkans policy, and the violence in Israel does not prove Oslo was doomed to fail.

Issue: Winter 2000-2001

It is a rare moment for those who contemplate international politics
when a dramatic event suddenly clarifies seemingly insoluble
arguments over basic principles and policies. Such moments are of two
basic types: those that repudiate a course of action and those that
confirm it.

When a seminal event confounds a reigning consensus, it can condense
fragmented thoughts on the margins of debate into powerful new
metaphors and motivations, and generate a new vocabulary to discuss
new realities. Thus Hitler's perfidy in Czechoslovakia not only
turned the 1938 Munich agreement into a powerful symbolic repudiation
of appeasement, but revealed unmistakably the strategic intentions of
the Nazi regime.

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