Saturday, November 04, 2006
Like great-grandfather, like great-grandson?
The brilliant but reckless general and diplomat Nicholas IgnatyevThat's a passage from Henry Kissinger's book Diplomacy. It's used to describe Michael Ignatieff's great-grandfather.
Apparently, one of Nicholas' claims to fame was the Treaty of San Stefano, which was the result of a military and diplomatic misadventure and overreach that the European powers were quick to reject. It turned Russian advantage into national humiliation — a setback that damaged the security of both Europe and Russia.
Fast forward more than a century later, and we have another Ignatieff who might have created his own Treaty of San Stefano. That is, by launching the Liberal party into a debate about Quebec nationhood, the great-grandson may have committed an error somewhat mimicking that of his great-grandfather. Michael may have squandered his position of strength as a front-runner in order to engage in foolish diplomatic and strategic maneuvers that served to damage all parties involved — including himself.
Yes, maybe history does repeat itself, especially in the same family.