Confusing diplomacy with surrender

Answering a question about her vote on recent resolution on Iran Senator Clinton offered a detailed description of the resolution, which she said stressed robust diplomacy that could lead to imposing sanctions against Iran. French Foreign minister Dr. Kouchner told reporters that he believes in diplomacy. Secretary Rice also emphasizes the importance of diplomacy in dealing with Tehran and so does Prime Minister Brown and every European politician. The life is beautiful and the world seems sensible. Except for one tiny little bit of detail!

Who is actually practicing this diplomacy? Secretary Rice? Not yet. She says that she is ready to meet her Iranian colleague, if Iran stops its enrichment program. However she was absent when Iran made an offer in 2004 and before that in 2003. Iran’s position is clear it does not stop enrichment, at least not publicly.

Iran is open to unconditional talks and negotiations and its diplomatic service has sent out offers that could have been the foundation for a compromise. Secretary Rice has not acted upon those offers. The response to Iran’s offers has been something like: “We do not talk to evil.” Not very promising for further diplomatic contacts, wouldn’t you say so?

Dr. Kouchner? Well at least he met Mr. Mottaki of Iranian government in New York City, just recently. The meeting would have been more fruitful, if France was not so adamant about new sanctions. It does seem creativity and innovation of this co-founder of Doctors without Borders rest within the realm of building barriers instead of dealing with delicate issues that need compromise and realpolitik. So far French chief diplomat main job has been ridiculing IAEA announcement on lack of evidence regarding Iran’s intentions to build a bomb.

Is there anyone in Foreign Office who enjoys some realpolitik and exercise of diplomacy? It seems the Britons do not know what they exactly want. They backed the French and some say they even back a military strike, but not publicly. The only foreign minister who knows his way to Tehran is Russian foreign affair minister Mr. Lavrov. We still have to see if his diplomatic efforts would bear fruit.

As a matter of fact the only person who dared to deal with Iran diplomatically has been Mr. Mohammad El Baradei, the director of UN watchdog, IAEA. After a successful round of negotiations with Iran he secured a commitment from Iranian side to resolve its issue with IAEA. The following negotiations have been successful. The resident emissaries in Vienna walked to his office to express their dissatisfaction with him thus awarding him for his diplomatic efforts.

Presently to any observer it does not seem that administration seeks a diplomatic approach or a diplomatic solution or follows a diplomatic agenda with Iran. When last week USA announced more sanctions on Iran Secretary Rice emphasized that she is committed to diplomacy and these sanctions are diplomatic instruments.

One wonders if Secretary Rice confuses diplomacy with surrender. As the head of USA diplomatic service Secretary Rice has not initiated an offer, has not advocated a diplomatic agenda. Sanctions are not and have never been diplomatic instruments. They have been means to reduce an adversary’s strength to ensure his weakness and his unconditional surrender.

So many foreign policy officials have managed to evade answering one simple question: why no one is actually talking to Iran? For a long time it has been apparent that the USA has the golden key to resolve this situation and to avoid war and to safe guard her own interests and to take one giant step toward stability in the Middle East and particularly in Iraq. However instead of working its issues with Iran, the administration has preferred to increase the heat and to pave the road toward a confrontation. To many Secretary Rice frequent emphasis on diplomacy might seem to be only a smoke screen behind which the administration is gearing up for its third war.

Diplomacy has its own precise definition, it is not dictating terms, it is not demanding a surrender and it is not avoiding negotiations. It is time to remind politicians and diplomats alike that soldiers plan for wars not politicians and certainly not diplomats. It is time for politicians to start practicing diplomacy instead of stressing it. Stressing diplomacy is not diplomacy… even in the medieval time they would have send an emissary by now!

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