This morning on C-Span’s Q & A, Joseph Cirincione, author of Bomb Scare, said that he believes that the U.S. military effort in Iraq mirrors Napoleon’s failure in Moscow. He mentioned the book Moscow 1812 by Adam Zamoyski and it’s now on my to-read list.
Specifically, he said:
LAMB: What’s your sense of what will happen eventually in Iraq and what impact will it have your whole discussion of nuclear weapons?
CIRINCIONE: I don’t think there’s a good solution for Iraq. I mean, one of the things I tell my students is to read history. It’s not like this hasn’t happened before. Last summer I read a book called ”Moscow 1812.” It’s about Napoleon’s invasion of Moscow. Best army in the world, best generals, best weapons, terrible strategy, a strategic blunder that led him to conquer Moscow, but not defeat the army. He was stuck as the winter roared in, couldn’t stay, he couldn’t leave, no good choices, but he had to choose. He left, the retreat was debacle, his troops never recovered, his army never recovered, his reputation never recovered, he lost his empire. I think there’s a lot of parallels to Iraq. I don’t think there’s going to be a happy ending to this story. I think we have to get out. We cannot stay and we have to try to get out in such a way that gives the Iraqi people the best chance of rescuing their country, of stabilizing it. It may be that they have to go through their own civil war. It did – maybe it doesn’t have to be that way, but it sure looks like it’s going to happen to me. And it’s going to take us decades to recover from this, both the turmoil in the Middle East and the loss of legitimacy and credibility of the United States. We have squandered a reputation that took us decades to build up.
If anyone is familiar with that incursion (I’m not) or the book, or both, I hope you’ll comment. Is it an apt comparison? Or not, and why?
Cirincione also says that Pakistan is more frightening, in terms of nuclear power, than China.