However, there are two similarities that may dwarf the thousands of differences. First, in Iraq, like Vietnam, the original rationale for going to war has been discredited and public support has dwindled. Second, in both cases the new justification became building stable societies. There are enormous pitfalls in America's nation building efforts in Iraq as there were in Vietnam. But it is the business we now find ourselves in, and there is no easy retreat from it morally. As American frustration increases, some policy makers are making the deadly mistake of approaching problems in Iraq as if we are facing them for the first time. It is crucial that we apply the lessons of Vietnam wisely and selectively.
His lively account of the difficult negotiations makes fascinating reading; it shows that the newly developed “track-two diplomacy” is an effective tool for reconciling even intractable foes through fostering dialog, contact and cooperation.