Tuesday, February 25, 2003

From a fine Nicholas Kristof column in today's New York Times:

Eisenhower, who led the European Allies to victory in World War II and was president from 1953 to 1961, faced a crisis in Egypt similar to today's and effectively chose containment rather than invasion. Likewise, even when faced with the threat of weapons of mass destruction, President John F. Kennedy chose to contain Cuba rather than invade it, and President Ronald Reagan chose to contain Libya rather than invade it. I hope we have the courage and discipline to emulate such restraint by Eisenhower, Kennedy and Reagan today and choose containment over war for Iraq.

Yes -- and Eisenhower also chose to avoid war in 1954 when China threatened Taiwan and then invaded Qemoy and Matsu, as surprise war opponent John McLaughlin has pointed out.

It's nice to be reminded that a prudent decision to back away from war wasn't considered un-American in America's salad days after World War II.

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