Peace With Honor

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Jonah makes the point that Nixon could make his appeal for an honorable end to the war in Vietnam because his right-wing, hawkish bona fides were unimpeachable, and adds that since none of the current crop of Democrats have the national-security chops to pull a Nixon in '08, "the most likely candidate to run the most persuasive Nixonian strategy would be one of several Republicans." I'm not sure. Given where the GOP base seems to be, I doubt a "peace with honor" candidate on the Republican side would get much traction in the primary field, however hawkish he might be on other fronts. And while Jonah's right that the none of the Dems have anywhere near the hawkish cred that Nixon enjoyed, the Iraq War is so much more unpopular going into '08 than the Vietnam War was going into 1968 - 61 percent of Americans think the Iraq War was a mistake as of this month, whereas in July of 1967 only 41 percent of Americans thought sending troops to Indochina had been a mistake - that the Democrats may not need as much foreign-policy credibility as Nixon enjoyed to run a successful "peace with honor" campaign.
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Ross Douthat is a former writer and editor at The Atlantic.

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