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October 25, 2006 | South Carolina Headlines


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The diplomacy of force
Jonathan Pait
March 19, 2003

We’ve been hearing a lot about diplomacy recently. Some complain about the lack of it or the failure of George W. Bush to use it effectively. Tom Daschle attacked Bush saying, “I'm saddened that the president failed so miserably at diplomacy that we are now forced to war. Saddened that we have to give up one life because this president couldn't create the kind of diplomatic effort that was so critical for our country.”

Excuse me, but Mr. Daschle, did you think before you said that? The only failure on Bush’s part was not to get the French and their coalition to agree to own up to their responsibility to use force against Saddam. Had Bush been successful, we would still have found our soldiers marching into Baghdad. It shows that your partisanship and hatred for Bush has caused you to lose touch with rational thought. I agree with Rep. DeLay, “Fermez la bouche, Monsieur Daschle.

Okay, I am done with Daschle, but, man does his sniveling little self ever make me angry!

Is war the antithesis of diplomacy? War is the diplomacy of force. Now, I imagine someone somewhere has already said this in some way in some other time. It has to be so because it is true.

I understand that the goal of diplomacy is to arrive at a mutual agreement between nations. That sounds good in the dictionary, but in reality every nation is looking out for its own interests. What is considered mutual is a compromise of national interest at best or at worst a flat out lie (We wouldn’t have any examples of that in history would we?). However, there are times when compromise is not an option.

My mind goes back to Neville Chamberlain. “Oooooo, look, we all signed a paper. Since we are all such wonderful and trustworthy people we have now secured peace for our time.” Okay, so that was a VERY loose quotation – but the meaning is right on target.

Now we have people like Hans “Neville” Blix, etc. who swoon like Chamberlain over the symbolism of paper diplomacy. They live in a state of perpetual negotiation. Effectiveness is not measured in the resulting change in action but in the amount of paper work, reports and signatures acquired. “Ah, we have all signed on to the fact that Saddam is a very bad man and he cannot be trusted. Good. Now, the problem is solved. The UN has spoken. We will wear him down with the our powers of negotiation.”

If only Bush had joined them in their joist with the windmill. How many in this nation and around the world would now be singing his praises or at least not attacking him? Yet, the problem would have remained.

Bush is still negotiating. He is simply negotiating with power diplomacy. Maybe you remember a quotation by another man who once held the same position as Bush, “Speak softly and carry a big stick.” This doesn’t just mean threaten with that stick – you have to be willing to use it. Force is sometimes the end process of negotiation. When we leave Baghdad there will be a mutual agreement!

There is another point to be made about diplomacy in this situation. If you believe this is just about Iraq and terrorism, think again. We have been introduced to a new enemy. It is an enemy that we can’t readily identify because it is simply pelting us with an air gun from amongst the bushes. It is probably unnoticed by the majority of Americans. However, I can’t believe that our administration is not seeing it.

The European Union will be our next greatest enemy – or perhaps rival is a better word - and the United Nations will be its weapon. Don’t get me wrong. I am not saying that we will be taking up arms against them or vise versa. Mao said, “War is politics with bloodshed.” We may not find that to be the case. However, we will certainly find that the other side of the coin is true, “Politics is war without bloodshed.”

France is sending the opening shot. She wants nothing more than to steer the EU and she wants the body to rival the economic (and ultimately the military?) power of the US. I am certain that she is emboldened by the reaction she has received during this skirmish.

That is what makes me so angry with people like Daschle, the Dixie Chicks, and others. They do lend comfort to those seeking to replace us as the greatest country on the face of this earth. Perhaps there can be arguments against the US led attack on Iraq. How we conduct those disagreements within our “family” should not encourage those who are against us.

Diplomacy is continuing. The war in Iraq is a small facet of the negotiations. Thankfully, Bush is not willing to submit our national interests to the neutering control of the United Nations. Even so, don’t think the political war will end with the conclusion of the actual war in Iraq. We’ve only just begun.

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