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DIPLOMACY: Promoting one's best interests and looking good at the same time

By Kam Zarrabi, Intellectual Discourse


Why should we feel troubled that American diplomacy in the global arena has been a failure or, better put, nonexistent in recent memory? Two reasons flag up without too much deliberation: 1- Events prove that America's "best interests" have clearly not been pursued by our policies and actions. 2- While we have created enormously greater suspicion and hatred against America abroad, we are not even "looking good" right here at home. There is, perhaps, a good historical reason for why diplomacy has seldom been called to service by the United States administrations in dealing with the outside world.


In historical terms, only fairly recently have we awakened to the fact that power alone, military and economic, could no longer substitute for diplomacy and guarantee our immunity against serious harm by heretofore inconsequential entities. The events of September 11, 2001, exactly five years ago, demonstrated two things: 1- There are people and forces around the world who, for whatever reasons, hate us so much that they are willing to go to almost any length to cause death and destruction against us. 2- Some among the many who brew that hatred of America in their minds can actually penetrate all our defenses and strike us at home and abroad.


Quite naturally, a comfortably confident people with good historical reasons for their morally superior attitudes were quick to reach the only conclusion that served their self-righteous image: Those who hate us and want to do us harm, hate us for who we are rather than for what we do. And, by extension, they hate who we are because they hate freedom, democracy and a good life, all the noble ideals that we stand for.


We thus demonized the enemy and, at the same time, strengthened our self-image as everything that is good, moral and just. The next step was to mobilize all our resources and rally around our Commander in Chief to confront this menace by chanting, "You can run but you cannot hide. We will track you down, smoke you out, and bring you to justice."


Now, five years later, the master perpetrators of the 9/11 attacks are still at large, we are less safe at home and abroad, we have lost more good men and women in our war against those who brought down the Twin Towers in Manhattan than what the events of that tragedy had caused, and our international respect and credibility are at an all time low. Yet our saber rattling continues as diplomacy awaits its wakeup call.


Perhaps the long abandoned diplomacy is too anemic to respond and is too ill equipped to confront the challenges ahead even if it were to be called on to come to rescue. The official voice of diplomacy for the United States, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, who has been strangely in occultation for the past month or so, appears to have become damaged goods, particularly after repeated thoughtlessly bellicose statements she made in addressing issues regarding Iran. While our other diplomat, the UN Ambassador, John Bolton, rates as a discredited nobody who is best known as only a Zionist neocon, Rice does have the potential to break the shackles and rise up to the task. Perhaps her current absence from the media limelight is a sign of better things to come.


Listening to the President's address the other day at the Military Officers Association of America meeting, I was initially and prematurely filled with anticipation as he lambasted America's true enemy and the target of our genuine war on terrorism in the Middle East. He spent the first two-thirds of his speech talking about Osama Bin Laden and the Al Gha'eda terrorist organization and their campaign of terror against the United States and the West. The "Sunni extremists", as he called them, were responsible for terror, bloodshed and instability in Iraq, the President said. Mr. Bush warned that these terrorists, meaning the Sunni extremists, were hoping for America to abandon Iraq so that Al Gha'eda could make Iraq its terror headquarters. Every time he concluded a sentence by exclaiming that America would accept nothing short of complete victory, he was greeted by a well deserved applause.


Surely, I thought, the President must know what the critics of his policy of "staying the course" in Iraq and war on terror hold against him. The latest opinion polls show that better than 2/3 of the American people, most Democrats, as well as a good number of Republican representatives in the House and Senate disapprove of the President's policies and believe that things aren't going as well as we are being told. I, therefore, concluded that the President must be holding something up his sleeve by focusing so exclusively and acutely on the Al Gha'eda and the Sunni extremists, and not mentioning anything about the highly publicized impending threat of war with Iran.


Unfortunately, my expectations failed to materialize as the President entered the last third of his delivery. The speech writers had done it again, I thought. Once he began his scathing diatribe against the Iranian regime and what he called "Shi'a extremism", I was reminded of his January 2002 address when he labeled Iran as a member of the Axis of Evil. At that time I was sure Mr. Bush had no idea what he was talking about; he was given the text of his speech, and he simply delivered it as best he could. It was one David Frum, the prolific Zionist neocon who had added those venomous words to Bush's speech as an afterthought! I don't know who helped write his speech this time; I could only guess. One thing is for sure, he never writes his own speeches.


Are we missing yet another opportunity to miss an opportunity?


Condy Rice is somewhere obviously involved in something curiously important. Mr. Khatami, Iran's former President is visiting the United States, even though the Israeli lobby and the Zionist propaganda machine have strongly objected to granting him a visa. And, whadoyaknow, Mr. Netanyahu, the former Israeli Prime Minister, happens to have just arrived in Washington.


I might be crazy, but this mix of strange bedfellows has the potential to produce very promising offsprings! I cannot help but think, What if?


What if behind all the tough talk and saber rattling on both sides some diplomats with real brains are at work trying to stop this runaway madness. Is it possible to strike a "grand bargain" of some sort?


Could, perhaps, a two-state solution agreeable to the Palestinians be imposed on Israel in exchange for continued American financial support and security guarantees? Would not that, then, lead to a resolution of the Israeli-Lebanese (Hezbollah) frictions and, at the same time, the issue of the Golan Heights with Syria? With Iran having declared numerous times that any settlement between Israel and the Palestinians that is acceptable to the latter would be welcomed by Iran, the tension between Israel and Iran would be defused, as well. A non-aggression treaty between the United States and Iran would lead to a similar non-aggression treaty between Iran and Israel, thus freeing Iran to finish up America's dirty job in Iraq and Afghanistan. With the help of Iran, the Shi'a regime in Iraq could much more easily end the Sunni militancy and make it impossible for the Al Gha'eda cells to establish any bases in Iraq. The United States could then focus on the main job of dealing with Mr. Bin Laden and the Pakistanis, which was the initial task in our war on terror after the 9/11 attacks. Should Israel be convinced to abandon its nuclear arsenal and join the NPT, a nuclear arms-free Middle East would become a reality.


Now, this is a "domino effect" that could actually work for everyone's benefit, even the Israelis! Contrasting this against the ill-fated domino theory of establishing a phony democracy in Iraq and hoping that it would spread region-wide, I think my domino theory stands a realistic chance.


All I can be quite sure of is that the alternatives spell disaster for all cobcerned.  


... Payvand News - 9/8/06 ... --

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