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The Undiplomatic Diplomacy

By Kam Zarrabi, Intellectual Discourse


On her television appearance the morning of Wednesday, May 31, Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice, presented the United States' official position regarding a potential dialogue with Iran. The much anticipated presentation was clearly in response to diplomatic pressures, not only by the international community, but also by many in the US Congress, Democrats as well as Republicans.


The point of emphasis repeated numerous times during her speech was diplomacy. If this was America's best attempt at diplomacy, we have a major problem at hand that needs quick remedy before all hell breaks loose.


Then again, Ms. Rice's academically fluent and superficially profound, albeit totally meaningless in a practical sense, utterances could have been part of a well planned scenario aimed at torpedoing any chance of a rapprochement or dialogue with the Iranian regime. Ms. Rice may not be the most capable diplomat or experienced politician who ever headed our State Department, but the former Provost of Stanford University is certainly not stupid. So, why would she choose this blatantly undiplomatic and arrogantly confrontational approach as a venue to open a potential dialogue with Iran?


A reasonable statement that would indicate the State Department's honesty and sincerity in dealing with the Iran "problem" might have appeared as follows:

There are issues and concerns that have resulted in mutual mistrust and antagonism between the governments of the United States and Iran. We believe that there are grounds for meaningful negotiations between the two states to address these issues and concerns with the hope of achieving resolutions that serve the best interests of both nations.


Condoleezza Rice, instead, continued to level allegations and insults at the Iranian regime and established a set of preconditions before any dialogue could take place. She demanded that Iran stop all uranium enrichment-related operations in pursuit of nuclear weapons in a transparent and verifiable manner. Even then, all options available to the United States remain on the table. After all, Ms. Rice pointed out with her patented forced smile, Iran is a supporter of terrorism.  


The response to this kind of clearly hostile rhetoric might well be a similarly accusatory and antagonistic statement by Ms. Rice's Iranian counterpart. Still insisting on its legal rights within the NPT agreement to enrich uranium for peaceful purposes, Iran has just rejected Ms. Rice's proposal out of hand. Isn't that what was intended by the US State Department in the first place? A formal counter offer might surface later, after the European Trio of Britain, France and Germany submit their formal proposal with the United States in a joint communiqué in a classic carrots and sticks scenario.


Knowing that the Iranian regime has long reached the maturity to not be easily frightened or intimidated by childish scare tactics, the Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice, must also know that Iran's reaction will be a dispassionate rejection, at best.


That being the case, one cannot help but ask the Administration, Why? Is it really our interests that we are trying to protect and secure through such seemingly divisive methods, or are we being threatened, cowed or blackmailed by our perennial role model in Middle East affairs, the one entity who has everything to gain the longer and deeper we are involved, and the more enemies we make, in that strategic region?


Perhaps Ms. Rice should care more about her country than her political future to have so obligingly catered to the interests of those who, she believes, and rightly so, can guarantee her rise to political stardom. After all, how many members of our United States Congress can we name who are critical of our passionate, blind and self destructive attachment to the state of Israel? Oh, there have been some, and there is at least one member of Congress, Ron Paul, Republican from Texas, who dare to speak out on occasion. But, historically speaking, any criticism of Israel's policies or America's unequivocal support for whatever Israel demands and even dictates is tantamount to political suicide.


It was abundantly clear to anybody who saw last week's joint news conference by George W. Bush and Ehud Olmert, the Israeli Prime Minister, where the decisions are made regarding the formulation of America's policies toward the Middle East. It is certainly not in Washington and not with America's interests as the prime objectives.


... Payvand News - 6/2/06 ... --

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