Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Why Does Diplomacy Matter? While The U.S. Talks Tough, Iran Hopes To Increase Influence Via Summit With Iraq And Syria

Iran has invited the Iraqi and Syrian presidents to Tehran for a weekend summit with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to hash out ways to cooperate in curbing the runaway violence that has taken Iraq to the verge of civil war and threatens to spread through the region.

Instead of the U.S. taking a lead diplomatic role in bringing peace to the region -- a move supported just a few days ago by British Prime Minister Tony Blair -- it is instead allowing Iran to flex its muscles as a influential power broker in the region.

The initial U.S. reaction can't help matter. It's a variation of staying the course -- we don't talk to "Axis of Evil" members and their friends. The Los Angeles Times called the U.S. attitude "skeptical nonchalance."

Instead of diplomacy, the U.S. once again talked tough -- a strategy that hasn't worked well since the Bush Administration came to power.

State Department Deputy Tom Casey said, "while there have been positive statements from the Iranian government about wishing to play a positive role in Iraq, those statements haven't been backed up by actions." He offered a similar assessment of Syria, saying the problem "is not what they say; the problem is what they do. ... What we would like to see the Syrians do is take actions to, among other things, prevent foreign fighters from coming across the border into Iraq."

In addition to being undiplomatic, is Casey correct on the issue of "foreign fighters?" A report last year from the Washington-based Center for Strategic International Studies found that of the estimated 30,000 insurgents, only 4%-10% were foreign fighters. That finding was confirmed, at least anecdotally, by U.S. Army commanders in Iraq, in interviews last year with the Telegraph of London. And if the U.S. is going to blast countries for not preventing foreign fighters from going to Iraq, where's the condemnation of Saudi Arabia?

As the Times editorial noted: "President Bush need not wait for the release of (the James Baker-led) commission report to convene a conference and invite all of the key players in Iraq's future: Iraq, Iran, Syria, Turkey, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, as well as representatives of the Gulf Coordination Council, the European Union and the U.N. Agreeing on a mutual duty to respect and uphold Iraq's territorial integrity would be the first goal. If the United States fails to act, diplomacy delayed may become diplomacy derailed."

13 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

If this summit happens we can end some problems in one bombing. Please invite North Korea along for the fun.

11:57 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ah yes, Iran hoping to increase influence with a summit. Maybe they can influence Syria to wipe Israel off the map also.

2:04 PM  
Anonymous alias: "cutiepie" johnson said...

That's the point, isn't it? We don't want Iran to increase its influence.

But as Hillary Clinton said, "Hope is not a strategy."

2:18 PM  
Anonymous trinity said...

David R. Mark said...
"Iran has invited the Iraqi and Syrian presidents to Tehran for a weekend summit with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to hash out ways to cooperate in curbing the runaway violence that has taken Iraq to the verge of civil war and threatens to spread through the region."


Well, since it is Iran itself that is "deeply involved in training, funding and arming the two major Shiite militias in Iraq", and Syria, (under Iran's direction) that is allowing foreign fighters and al Qaeda terrorists to enter into Iraq across their border, and since Syria also provides refuge to Saddam's top die-hard Baathist leaders who in turn organize arms and funding for the insurgents in Iraq..........I have a great idea!

Instead of having a "summit", if they are truly desirous (Guffaw!) of "curbing the runaway violence" in Iraq, why don't they simply STOP DOING WHAT THEY ARE DOING TO PROMOTE IT???

This is really such a sham. Diplomacy is meaningless when you are dealing with someone who not only espouses the idea of "Death to America", but who also believes it is perfectly permissible to downright lie to infidels in the name of Islam. It's absurd on its face to try to reason with this man.

I'm truly disappointed in Tony Blair for his comments, because I have a high regard for that man. I think he's wrong on this one.

2:57 PM  
Blogger thewaronterrible said...

"This is really such a sham. Diplomacy is meaningless when you are dealing with someone who not only espouses the idea of "Death to America", but who also believes it is perfectly permissible to downright lie to infidels in the name of Islam. It's absurd on its face to try to reason with this man."

I never in my life heard such a nieve, paranoid, defeatist and hopeless attitude. Would you listen to yourself?
This is exactly what warmongering Repukes said about Iraq, and look where that attitude got us.
Since it is hopeless to even attempt diplomacy, I suppose, that leave us with no other option than military force.
We have neither the military resources nor the finances to take on a country three times as powerful as Iraq, because the U.S. is bogged down in Iraq.
Would you send your children or kinfolk to fight the war Iran, Trinity? Are you wiling to support another Draft?
So what do you suggest we do?
Maybe, we should just drop an atomic bomb on Iran? Yeah, trigger the end of civilization. That makes a lot of sense.
To completely give up on diplomacy even for the most fantatical tyrants is to give up on peace, humankind and civilization. Trinity, your position is as terrifying as it is absurd. Anyone who takes themselves seriously sputtering such nonsense should be locked up.

4:44 PM  
Anonymous alias: "cutiepie" johnson said...

But Trinity, the current no-talk strategy isn't working.

What's the middle ground?

4:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bush and Rice are only able to talk tough.
Our friends and enemies alike overseas are only able to secretly laugh at them.

5:09 PM  
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5:10 PM  
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5:10 PM  
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5:10 PM  
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5:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Whoa! Sorry about that blog administrator. Only meant to post once.

5:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As the Republicans cowered in their holes underground, the Democrats Above Earth reestablished world order under the determination that a government based on individual freedoms, love and understanding would operate better than one based on distrust and fear.
The Democrats danced. They partied. They sang. They began to work towards resolving differences with many of their enemies abroad.

Meanwhile, the Republicans Below Earth wished bad things upon their counterparts.
"You just wait," they sneered. "It's just a matter of time before another 9-11 happens.
Then and only then will the defeatocrats finally understand the threat imposed upon America by evil Islamic facists!
Just you wait. When they have to send their children off to school with little straw mats and a copy of the Qur'an to study the teachings of Muhammad, then they will finally understand. Heh. Heh.
But we'll continue to be safe and warm down here in our bomb shelter cocoons. We have a bottle of scotch. We have our Bibles. We have Levin and Limbaugh on the radio..."

8:17 AM  

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