Kissinger projects a strong impression of a man at home in the world and on top of his brief. But there are a number of occasions when it suits him to pose as a sort of Candide: naive, and ill-prepared for and easily unhorsed by events. No doubt this pose costs him something in point of self-esteem. It is a pose, furthermore, which he often adopts at precisely the time when the record shows him to be knowledgeable, and when knowledge or foreknowledge would also confront him with charges of responsibility or complicity.
You might think that the Left could have a regime-change perspective of its own, based on solidarity with its comrades abroad. After all, Saddam's ruling Ba'ath Party consolidated its power by first destroying the Iraqi communist and labor movements, and then turning on the Kurds (whose cause, historically, has been one of the main priorities of the Left in the Middle East). When I first became a socialist, the imperative of international solidarity was the essential if not the defining thing, whether the cause was popular or risky or not. I haven't seen an anti-war meeting all this year at which you could even guess at the existence of the Iraqi and Kurdish opposition to Saddam, an opposition that was fighting for 'regime change' when both Republicans and Democrats were fawning over Baghdad as a profitable client and geopolitical ally. Not only does the 'peace' movement ignore the anti-Saddam civilian opposition, it sends missions to console the Ba'athists in their isolation, and speaks of the invader of Kuwait and Iran and the butcher of Kurdistan as if he were the victim and George W. Bush the aggressor.