Robert Stein 1924-2014

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Sunday, August 10, 2008

The Diplomacy Gap

A convergence of events--the Russian crackdown in Georgia, Musharraf's imminent impeachment in Pakistan, the continuing impasse over Iran's nuclear ambitions--is underscoring the damage of the bellicose Bush foreign policy to America's relations with the rest of the world.

As the McCain campaign mocks Obama's willingness to negotiate with rather than bully adversarial nations and dicey allies, reality keeps offering up situations that demonstrate the failure of the Neo-Con blueprint for American world dominance by military power that took us into an unending war in Iraq.

Nicholas Kristof points out today that "the United States is hugely overinvesting in military tools and underinvesting in diplomatic tools. The result is a lopsided foreign policy that antagonizes the rest of the world and is ineffective in tackling many modern problems. After all, you can’t bomb global warming."

Item: As Bush and Putin watch the Beijing Olympics together, the US is helpless to deter new Russian aggression. "While America considers Georgia its strongest ally in the bloc of former Soviet countries," an analysis concludes, "Washington needs Russia too much on big issues like Iran to risk it all to defend Georgia."

Item: With Bush's best friend facing removal, the US, in Fareed Zakaria's words, "is seen by Pakistanis as having backed Musharraf for far too long and in too unqualified a manner...Just sending American troops in there, especially without coordination with Pakistan, would be a recipe for failure. But a genuinely political and military approach might succeed over time."

A New York Times editorial concludes, "There are no quick and easy fixes for Pakistan, but it will have no chance if its civilian leaders, its army and the United States do not work together to build more effective democratic governance, an economic future and a coordinated plan for routing the Taliban and Al Qaeda."

Item: As Iran continues to flex its nuclear muscles, the Bush State Department is barely beginning to engage the process of a coordinated carrot-and-stick international effort to keep Mahmoud Ahmadinejad shooting off his mouth instead of test missiles.

All of this will require foreign-service brains, expertise and experience but, as Kristof points out, the US has more musicians in its military bands than diplomats.

1 comment:

Digger said...

I have quoted and linked to your piece here: