Dead? No, just worn out from over-use.

There was a time, just a few days short of seven years ago, when otherwise intelligent and perceptive writers — locked in the here-and-now-think common to trauma victims — persuaded themselves, and tried to persuade others, that irony was dead.

As with Mark Twain, the reports of its death were “greatly exaggerated.” In fact, irony raised its head, radiant and splendid, just yesterday in Italy. It was noted and promptly recorded, in absolutely straight-faced fashion, by The New York Times.

Cheney Warns Russia to Reverse Its Course

Vice President Dick Cheney on Saturday denounced Russia’s war against Georgia as evidence of a pattern of “troublesome and unhelpful actions” that threatened peace from Central Asia to the Middle East to Europe.

In Moscow, Russia’s president, Dmitri A. Medvedev, defiantly dismissed criticism like Mr. Cheney’s during remarks to security aides, mocking the inability of the international community to press Russia.

“Russia is a state that from now on must be reckoned with,” Mr. Medvedev said.

Mr. Cheney noted Russia’s reduction of oil to the Czech Republic after it agreed to build a missile defense radar station and also a Russian suggestion that Poland would be making itself a target if it agreed to deploy missile interceptors. He also cited threats and economic pressure directed against Ukraine and the Baltic states. “That is no way for a responsible power to conduct itself,” he said.

Think about it. Who in the world — literally — is less justified than Cheney in warning a large country not to invade a small one, particularly in Central Asia or the Middle East. “That is no way for a responsible power to conduct itself.”

Indeed.

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