Monday, August 03, 2009

The Futility of Organized Diplomacy

From Powerline:

David Ignatius argues that, rather than pursuing talks with the Iranian regime, the U.S. should let it stew in its own juice for now. He analogizes the regime to a "neighborhood troublemaker" who has driven his car into a ditch. The best response, Ignatius argues, is to let him remain there for a while with his wheels spinning.

So far, so good. But Ignatius is determined that we should appease someone. So, with Iran sidelined as a candidate, he argues that we should respond by appeasing its allies: Syria, Hamas, and even Hezbollah. He argues that, given Iran's current problems, its friends may want to hedge their bets by becoming more friendly with us. But unless we're prepared to fund the terrorist activities of Hamas and Hezbollah, as Tehran does, Iran clearly remains their one good bet.

Understandably, then, Ignatius glosses over the question of what it would take for the U.S. to befriend these bloody terrorist entities. However, he does urge, inevitably, that the U.S. take advantage of Iran's predicament by striving to create a Palestinian state. Is there any development in the region that commenators like Ignatius cannot spin into an argument for coercing Israel into agreeing to a state for its sworn enemies?

The notion that the U.S. can shake things up in the Middle East by appeasing bloodthirsty terrorists has long passed for bold, strategic thinking -- and indeed realism --in the salons and op-ed pages of Washington, D.C. The frightening thing is that we cannot be confident that it does not pass for such in the Obama administration.


Long ago, George Shultz was confronted with the fact that Reagan had gone longer than any President without a summit deal with the Soviet Union. His response was "So what. No deal is better than a bad deal."

The career diplomatic bloc in D.C. seems adamant that sort of thinking does not take root. They prefer "movement", dealmaking, to no deal. If American interests prohibit that approach, it's time to rethink American interests.

The notion that we can appease and enable terrorists like Hamas, Hezbollah and the Taliban without injury to the United States has already failed, and this failure will be demonstrated again. It's a good question whether any majority party in Washington will be allowed to do anything about it for some time.

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