Commentary Magazine


Contentions

Nukes for “Points”

Apparently, we’ve achieved success in handling Iran

Things did get better, and [Condoleezza] Rice cooperated with European powers on several diplomatic projects. The Bush administration counts the evolution of Kosovo into an independent nation as one success story, and cooperation with European powers on Iran another. Rice dropped the Bush administration’s previous bans on negotiations with Iran in hopes of coaxing the regime to back down on its nuclear program. That hasn’t worked, but Rice got points with formerly quarrelsome allies for trying.

At the State Department, success isn’t measured by ends, but means. Because the ends are never positive. The point is to fail with grace, humility, and in the convivial company of other failures around the globe. The memoirs of lifetime negotiators are full of false soul searching passages about their best efforts not being good enough to sway their stubborn intimates. Instead of staying up 8 nights in a row with a map in front of Yassir Arafat’s face, they should have stayed up 9, darn it! Working at state is all about earning that self-important chapter in your best-seller. Keep in mind, North Korea is hiding nuclear fuel, Gaza leadership exists for the sole purpose of destroying Israel, Iran is well on its way to attaining nuclear weapons and Condoleezza Rice is currently taking a global victory lap.

And if the State Department considers Iran a success, just imagine what they really think about the Israel-Palestinian question. The truth is, the Middle East peace process–the holy grail of American diplomacy–is no longer even intended to achieve peace. It’s a PR stunt with an acceptable price tag, a loss leader designed to showcase American cooperation and understanding. If you fly to the Levant enough times with enough heads of state, you get to bank more of those “points with formerly quarrelsome allies for trying.”

From the same piece:

Rice has more goodbyes Tuesday in Brussels, where she sees NATO allies. The United States has a long-standing beef with some NATO nations over reluctance to send large numbers of fighting forces to Afghanistan, but the dispute has been cordial. The same is true for an emerging difference over engagement with Russia following last summer’s war with Georgia.

Keeping disputes cordial–kind of what Barack Obama is doing by making his adversary Secretary of State.


Join the discussion…

Are you a subscriber? Log in to comment »

Not a subscriber? Join the discussion today, subscribe to Commentary »





Welcome to Commentary Magazine.
We hope you enjoy your visit.
As a visitor to our site, you are allowed 8 free articles this month.
This is your first of 8 free articles.

If you are already a digital subscriber, log in here »

Print subscriber? For free access to the website and iPad, register here »

To subscribe, click here to see our subscription offers »

Please note this is an advertisement skip this ad
Clearly, you have a passion for ideas.
Subscribe today for unlimited digital access to the publication that shapes the minds of the people who shape our world.
Get for just
YOU HAVE READ OF 8 FREE ARTICLES THIS MONTH.
FOR JUST
YOU HAVE READ OF 8 FREE ARTICLES THIS MONTH.
FOR JUST
Welcome to Commentary Magazine.
We hope you enjoy your visit.
As a visitor, you are allowed 8 free articles.
This is your first article.
You have read of 8 free articles this month.
YOU HAVE READ 8 OF 8
FREE ARTICLES THIS MONTH.
for full access to
CommentaryMagazine.com
INCLUDES FULL ACCESS TO:
Digital subscriber?
Print subscriber? Get free access »
Call to subscribe: 1-800-829-6270
You can also subscribe
on your computer at
CommentaryMagazine.com.
LOG IN WITH YOUR
COMMENTARY MAGAZINE ID
Don't have a CommentaryMagazine.com log in?
CREATE A COMMENTARY
LOG IN ID
Enter you email address and password below. A confirmation email will be sent to the email address that you provide.