The further to the left or the right you move, the more your lens on life distorts.

Thursday, December 07, 2006


I was listening to NPR this morning. A commentator praised virtually every aspect of the Iraq Study Group Report and suggested that finally, “realistic diplomacy” would once again prevail in the United States’ dealings with the world, particularly its enemies. I was by myself in the car, but I laughed out loud.

As I navigated through noontime traffic, I wondered why it is that so many people elevate the soft diplomacy suggested by James Baker—a diplomacy where double-speak, obtuseness, never-ending delay, and wishful thinking obviate any real accomplishment—to almost religious significance.

Is it because it works so well in the Middle East? That can’t be true. Demonstrably, over many decades, it does not. Is it because we have good partners who will negotiate in good faith? That can’t be true either. In the ME, we must deal with irrational fanatics and murders who have absolutely no interests that coincide with our own. Worse, they have no compunction (think: Palestinans) about entering into a diplomatic agreement and then breaking it when the need warrants.

When I returned home, I came upon a piece by David Warren. In his article, Warren discusses the resignation of John Bolton as UN ambassador. He praises Bolton as a plain talker, someone who speaks his mind. He then writes:
There is a deep principle at work here, contradicting what is embraced as "diplomacy" today. It is that reasonable ideas can invariably be communicated in clear language. For the reasonable assertion has nothing to hide. "Doublespeak", as Orwell defined, is the substance within which ideas are hidden, that would be rejected if they were stated plainly. "Diplomatic doublespeak" goes a step further. It is the language in which such dubious ideas are absorbed and accepted; by which Western diplomats seek to fool themselves.

Ahhh, there it is! The “diplomacy” that Baker and his group recommend and that so many in the media and throughout the general public unthinkingly embrace is designed to give the appearance of progress when only words, not deeds, will result, to give the appearance of sincerity when one party is anything but sincere, to give the appearance of multilateral effort when most of those involved have interests that are not even close to ours. But … we fool ourselves.

Warren continues with a discussion of a clear-spoken comment from one of the world’s true statesmen, if you are to believe the MSM over the last few years:
Jacques Chirac, the President of France, has recently said a very clear thing: that the Syrian regime, currently re-arming Hezbollah in Lebanon (under the noses of French "peacekeepers"), is beyond talking with. That he persists in talking with exaggerated civility to the regime in Tehran, belies his sincerity. But he is right in making a subtle point against the dreamworld proposals now emerging from the Baker-Hamilton "Iraq Study Group" -- the ludicrous idea that America could win the cooperation of Syria and Iran, in extracting herself from Middle Eastern commitments.

The President, for all of his failings, appears to be reticent to adopt any of the JSG recommendations. Maybe he’s not as stupid as some of his detractors suggest.