In a Long-Ago Revolution, Echoes for Today: Hungary to Baghdad?

President Bush, who chose to tear down the status quo in Iraq and unleash violent instability in the name of liberty, has not hesitated to draw a straight line from Budapest to Baghdad.

He has compared the Iraqi government’s pursuit of democracy to that of the patriots of 1956 and told Hungarians: “We’ve learned from your example, and we resolve that when people stand up for their freedom, America will stand with them.”

That has a ring to it and the stamp of post-cold-war, neoconservative certainty. But the Eisenhower administration had also vowed to roll back Communism from Eastern Europe. Nonetheless, when Hungary rose, it was left to a bleak fate beneath the Soviet yoke. Liberty was set aside in favor of circumventing World War III.

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