Thursday, December 13, 2007

"Limits of Diplomacy – The Current Dilemma" (Dec. 13, 2007)

According to many of our presidential candidates, there are no limits to diplomacy. History however, as well as Psychology 101 proves otherwise:

a) Neville Chamberlain’s particular diplomacy in World War II gave Hitler an extra few years’ head start in building his genocidal war machine. Emboldened by appeasement politics, Hitler overran Czechoslovakia and Poland. Perhaps we did not offer The Fuehrer enough compromises; perhaps enough peace agreements were not signed; perhaps we did not exhibit enough understanding for Hitler and his Mein Kampf.

b) According to our liberal friends (or anti-Bush friends – the terms seem unfortunately easily interchangeable), we must talk even more to Iran, as though the last 30 years of on-off talking have been so tantalizingly productive. If, by way of example, a deranged ex-wife (not necessarily a relative of Ahmadinejad) takes out “a contract” on her former husband, even if he was perhaps indelicately unfaithful, do we set up arbitration proceedings and initiate empathic reconciliation – or do we contact New York’s best lawyers and the police?

c) If the PLO and Hamas declare openly in their public charters, their primary aim as the destruction of Israel and the killing or expulsion of all its Jewish citizens, should we not require the reversal of this central goal, their over-riding passion, prior to negotiations?

d) If the Arab world requires as a precondition for peace, the unlimited return of all the Palestinian refugees to Israel (including their voluminous descendants) should we not politely request the equivalent right of those Jewish refugees (of originally greater numbers than those of the Palestinians) to return to or receive compensation from the Arab lands from whence they were expunged in 1948. This would be an interesting quandary for these Arab states, especially since many are now effectively “Juden Rein” (Jew Free) and where non-Muslim prayer texts and religious establishments are often banned and a cause for riots or worse.

e) Israel and America went to Annapolis to talk, to negotiate. Would Obama have done so if he was required to enter the conference through the service entrance, if he was forewarned that certain participants would not deign to shake his hand? Is this a peace between equals, between men of honor?

f) If your neighbor (not necessarily a relative of Ismael Haniyeh) in downtown Detroit or Seneca, South Carolina was using your garden for his regular AK-47 shooting practice, your living room for his amateur but deadly rocketry, would John Edwards kindly send Ramadan greeting cards and offer to generously upgrade his neighbor’s personal militia as enticers to join their neighborhood peace conference?

Are there indeed no limits to diplomacy? Are there not enemies and situations that can profit from and abuse any and all diplomacies? Are there never preconditions basic enough, valuable enough to warrant their acknowledgment and attainment before diplomacy deserves initiation? Is not, ultimately, the unambiguous and sincere acceptance by opposing parties of the right of all to their respective religions, their countries, their existence, a minimum requirement for meaningful and fruitful negotiations?

It is said that one must prepare for war to engender a lasting peace. It may be reasonable to presume one must wield a big stick to activate successful negotiations. It is perhaps far better to be feared than reviled, far better to use one’s strong pre-eminence wisely than to collapse into self-flagellation and embarrassed supplications before an envious world.

If we do not respect ourselves, our country, our freedoms, then who will? If we are not worth fighting for, then the war is already lost.

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