Wednesday, October 11, 2006

The real diplomacy

Now that the "North Korea nuclear test" episode has grabbed the headlines from the Foley scandal, it is an instructive media study to watch Bush "talk tough," while promising to essentially do nothing different. The New York Times headline,

Bush Sees No Need to Change N. Korea Policy,

pretty much tells you all you need to know without wallowing through a few hundred words of nothing. Of course, Bush has never seen a need to change any of his failed policies. He is more than willing to keep wading through the ever-deepening swamp, convinced that "staying the course" -- his course -- will ultimately prevail, even while we're gulping bog water.

Acknowledging that "diplomacy is a difficult process," Bush insisted that, as commander in chief, he "must try all diplomatic measures" while simultaneously refusing to engage in bilateral negotiations with Pyongyang. In other words, the White House will not try all diplomatic measures, only the one that has proven a failure, even by Bush's public definition of his goal in diplomatic efforts:
The goal is, no nuclear weapons.
But thinking that Bush has "failed" to deal with North Korea in a prudential manner presumes that he ever cared to deal with Kim Jong-il in the first place. Given the evidence of his administration's conduct so far, it should be clear that he did not. After Bush "pulled the plug" on the diplomatic relations with North Korea and declared that he "loathed" Kim Jong-il, his adminstration continued to provide funding for light water nuclear reactors in that country as they had been supplied by ABB, a company on whose board sat Donald Rumsfeld until 2000.

And just as with Iran, and previously Iraq, diplomacy is not a means to an end but merely a forsworn excercise conducted for public show. If anything, the multi-partite negotiations that have proven a "failure" provide the Bush administration with fuel to justify more spending on the already implimented missile defense program and any consideration of direct bilateral discussions would be tantamount to admitting that John Kerry was right. And there certainly won't be any of that from this administration. Bush diplomacy is a tale told by an idiot. It signifies nothing.

We were given no better a display of what lies at the heart of Bush diplomacy than during the Israeli-Lebanese war when diplomatic efforts to halt the killing were not only ignored by Rice, Bolton and the rest of the White House, but actively resisted, while they all expressed the opinion that the killing should be allowed to run its course. This course had been planned well in advance by the Israelis with the encouragement of Bush and Cheney and diplomacy would not be allowed to gum up the works. Diplomacy then was something that was only going to get in the way of what had already been decided and planned.

The pre-ordained invasion of Iraq demonstrated to the world that the Bush regime conducts "diplomacy" with fingers crossed. They had no more interest then in letting diplomacy and inspections prevent the agenda that had already been set in motion than they have with Iran. The difference now is that the other major players on the UN Security Council are on to the game and can see full well what kind of catastrophe would be unleashed should the Bush administration carry forth its apparent plan to attack Iran. Whether resistance by Russia and China will be enough to deter this administration from launching such an attack remains to be seen, though with the USS Eisenhower en route to the Persian Gulf, dilpomatic resistance may be futile. This is true because, while others may think they're engaging diplomatic channels seriously, the Bush administration knows its own diplomatic efforts are only there for appearances.

For this White House, real diplomacy comes in two forms: one, from the end of the barrel of a gun and, two, in the art of selling the world more of those guns.


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