Sunday, July 23, 2006

Beating Back Diplomatic Defeatism

My dear friend, Jon Frietag, has finally started his own blog with a piece in defense of diplomacy; I highly recommend it:

. . . For quite a while it has not been that difficult to criticize America’s Israel policy. The U.S. has continued to fund the occupation of the Palestinian people and has tacitly approved the expansion of Israel’s West Bank settlements. Still, one felt the scant belief that American bureaucrats, regardless of their intentions, at least respected the notion that things ought to get solved peacefully. These Americans were called diplomats. But today they are nowhere to be found. In this current Administration’s worldview of “existing realities,” where what’s done can’t be undone, diplomats are derided as nothing but a bunch of dithering elites. And that goes for Henry Kissinger.

America’s blank check to Israel to bombard the civilian populations of Lebanon and Gaza is appalling, but not unconsidered. The U.S.’s withdrawal from negotiations stems from a conservative philosophy which promotes the unbridled use of military force on the one hand and the joyful abdication of diplomatic responsibility -- Politics -- on the other. It is a philosophy which ushers in physical brutality by camouflaging its contempt for diplomacy beneath a supposed exhaustion of diplomacy. It is rooted in a belief that the world is wicked, that nothing but force can tame it, and that the best role for civil government in these particular circumstances is in the drain of a bathtub. It is a philosophy we should not misconstrue as one of blundering incompetence, or unspeakable idiocy, but rather the embodiment of mindfully agreed-upon, wrongful policy options. (more)

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