Friday, May 16, 2008


The media pandemonium over President Bush’s Knesset remarks on the occasion of Israel’s 60th anniversary are centered on whether or not he was taking a veiled stab at Obama's approach to foreign policy. No need to debate here the Bush administration’s track record in most affairs, particularly those foreign, however, the Knesset speech highlights a fundamental lack of awareness that has been a root cause of the administration’s failures on this broad political frontier.

Obama wasted little time in taking this opportunity to arrest the attention of front page editors by firmly denouncing the speech and responding emphatically, even if the comments were not likely directed at him, but rather aimed at President Carter. Obama, better than other candidates, and assuredly better than Bush, comprehends the meaning of PR. The capacity to understand and apply the finer elements of effective PR simply seems to have long ago vacated the current administration’s methodology.

Whatever group one wishes to include under the terms “terrorist and radicals”, resurrecting Neville Chamberlain’s ghost and his appeasement of Hitler, is recollection of a situation with no resemblance or correlation to the current situation the U.S. faces with either Iran, Russia, Cuba, or any other country, or even Hamas. Negotiating is not appeasing. Negotiating accomplishes a multitude of objectives including the delineation of potentialities in the event of certain occurrences, good, bad, or extreme. That doesn’t mean the opposing party will be compliant, but at least there will be no ambiguity. Negotiations can also bring to the surface new and different perceptions, since as is often the case, when egos rear the uglier side of human nature, the public declarations can become somewhat subdued behind closed doors.

A challenge in foreign policy is to not insult a whole country and its people while publicly delivering verbal outrage at its leadership. Let’s take for example, the infamous Axis of Evil speech which placed Iran on the short list of three. Not it’s leadership, but all of Iran was slammed into the bag in one brief five second sound bite. How about speaking directly to the people of Iran, and giving them credit for being educated and aware? The majority of them don’t support or like their leadership either, but when you lump them into a bag and call the whole of the population evil, you win few friends where you need them. Diplomacy 101 would suggest another tack, which doesn’t include insulting the whole country because it’s leadership is uneducated and demented. In fact, much of the Iranian population is well educated with an 80% literacy rate, and by many casual and reported accounts, it likes America. In many instances Iranians envy its freedoms, and are probably just as puzzled at the ridiculous and absurd statements made by their President as we are. An example of such bewilderment, was that after Ahmedinejad’s rabid rhetoric against Israel, a couple of years back, that offended Jews and others around the world, his government donated funds for Tehran’s Jewish Hospital. The Iranian Jewish population, the largest Jewish population in the middle east outside Israel, was also no doubt puzzled, though probably not surprised.

The Internet is opening windows between cultures and societies wider than ever, including ours. Today’s technologies, particularly television and computers, provide our leadership direct access to populations that would, in past decades, have remained unreachable. If a head of state is going to address a foreign country, then it is not simply its leadership that needs addressing but all of its population.

Long term relationships such as those between countries, demand long term vision, and patient, effective interaction, both public and private. Such negotiating on all possible fields of engagement is not, and should not, be confused with appeasing. Ignoring, is appeasing. Saber rattling is thrusting and stabbing into the pride of leadership, and only gives rise to zealous nationalism or worse. Let’s go back to Diplomacy 101, and implement some effectual negotiating skills and measures. Isn’t America a leader in PR, marketing, and gamesmanship?

1 comment:

  1. .
    The terrorist monkey can not be negotiated with. The only reason to maybe talk to Ahmadamadmonkey in say maybe Switzerland is to provoke him by debating his ideology and criticizing the hatred. Force him to say lots of stupid and insane things which would be widely publicized thus educating more people to his ideology's insanity. This, I am quite sure, Obama would never do.

    Ouch, Obama and the poor little Dems were hit a little too close to home by what GW said. It's one of the best things Bush has ever said. Bravo! And he didn't even have to mention the Dhimmicrats or any body's name.

    So sure, then he folded in Saudi Arabia, but what he said in Israel almost makes that OK.
    absurd thought -
    God of the Universe says
    appease the appeasers

    don't embarrass them
    by calling them appeasers

    absurd thought -
    God of the Universe said
    have a sit down with Hitler

    he should have been sweet-talked
    he had goodness within

    Appeasement Talk Bothers Appeasers

    Help Halt Terrorism Now!