The View from a Rogue State: What Napoleon Can Tell Us about Dealing with Iran
The term ÃÂÃÂ¢ÃÂ¢?ÃÂ¬ÃÂ ?rogue stateÃÂÃÂ¢ÃÂ¢?ÃÂ¬ÃÂÃÂ may be a recent addition to the political lexicon, but rogue states are not a new phenomenon. For as long as there have been international norms, there have been states that have refused to play by the rules. Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has embraced this role for Iran, but he is merely the latest in a long line of leaders to attempt to revamp the international system.
Historically, Napoleon was one of the most dramatic of rogues. Idolized by many for his military successes and domestic reforms, he has also been accused of carrying out a ÃÂÃÂ¢ÃÂ¢?ÃÂ¬ÃÂ ?criminalÃÂÃÂ¢ÃÂ¢?ÃÂ¬ÃÂÃÂ foreign policy and blamed for the decade of wars that marked his reign. From his perspective, however, all of his aggressions were appropriate responses to an unjust international system designed by and run for the benefit of his archenemy, Great Britain. He always expected the other states of Europe to support his struggle against Britain. Napoleon believed his neighbors would be drawn to a Napoleonic world order in which Britain would not tyrannize the continent and the world. His continued disappointment when other states sided with Britain convinced him that they must all have been suborned by British gold or were otherwise ÃÂÃÂ¢ÃÂ¢?ÃÂ¬ÃÂ ?corrupted.ÃÂÃÂ¢ÃÂ¢?ÃÂ¬ÃÂÃÂ
NapoleonÃÂÃÂ¢ÃÂ¢?ÃÂ¬ÃÂ?s skewed sense of international justice spurred him to aggression and ultimately led to his defeat. Will his successors meet the same fate? Frederick W. Kagan will present The End of the Old Order: Napoleon and Europe, 1801ÃÂÃÂ¢ÃÂ¢?ÃÂ¬ÃÂ¢??1805 (Da Capo, 2006) the first book in his multivolume series on Napoleon, and will demonstrate how an historical study can shed light on a contemporary concern.
Frederick W. Kagan, AEI
William Kristol, The Weekly Standard