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Monday, June 21, 2004
Bush and Clinton - the difference

In a Guardian interview to promote his memoirs, Bill Clinton is very briefly given a tough question or two regarding Saddam Hussein. It's all very well you criticising the Iraq War now, Alan Rusbridger and Jonathan Freedland note, but wasn't it the Clinton Administration that first made regime change US government policy?

His reply: "Our policy had been, since 1998, regime change, but our policy toward Castro had been regime change, too, and we hadn't invaded Cuba! There is more than one way to pursue that objective."

Quite. And we saw that difference on January 1st: while Saddam Hussein was just getting accustomed to his new prison cell, Fidel Castro's dictatorship was celebrating 45 years without regime change. In his time, Castro has seen off not only Clinton but all of his predecessors since Eisenhower. There's more than one way to skin a cat, too. But if your sophistimacated diplomatic methods mean the moggy still has all its skin four and a half decades later, its best not to be too smug about the guy who used a knife.

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