Saturday, May 07, 2005

Diplomacy for Bullies

I grew up watching diplomacy first hand, traveling with my parents or watching them in action at the UN or hosting people from overseas and quite frankly, I have done some diplomacy, myself. At the UN, mostly. When I was in Europe, I rabble roused with enthusiasm causing the State Department more than one headache.

I watch with rising amusement as well as dismay, Bush and Condi's struggle to do diplomacy. For some reason, these two lovers think it is all about defying people, covering up responsibility for deeds committed and twisting arms while boasting about how strong we are.

Right now these two are charging about the planet, rabble rousing with more enthusiasm than I ever did show back in 1968.

Both Bush and Condi have repeatedly slapped old buddy Pootie Poot on the nose. First, by visiting former Russian colonies on the Baltic and then colonies on the western flank, exaulting about "freedom"...from Russia, then lecturing Russia about elections coming from this crew. Obviously, they are both oblivious about the scandals of the last three elections in America. So:

On the eve of a meeting with President Bush in Moscow, Russian President Vladimir Putin responds to criticism of democracy in Russia, raising questions about the U.S. 2000 election and President Bush’s decision to go to war in Iraq.

In an exclusive interview to be broadcast on 60 Minutes Sunday, Correspondent Mike Wallace relays criticism from the Bush White House about recent changes Putin has instituted in Russia. Putin tells Wallace he should question his own country's democratic ways before looking for problems with Russia's.

Way to go! I bet Powell is clutching his head with pain. At least he looked and sounded like a diplomat not a dippy drunk.

Putin offers a frosty reception as Bush heads to Moscow
reads the headline for Knight Ridder News.

The strains between Bush and Putin were apparent as the two men shadowboxed in advance of their meeting. Bush is traveling to Moscow for a ceremony on Monday marking the 60th anniversary of the end of World War II in Europe.

If punch drunk Bush wants to shadow box he can do this at home. Maybe the shadow will punch him out.

From the Hearld Tribune:

When dozens of state leaders gather in Moscow on Monday to commemorate 60 years since the defeat of Nazi Germany and the end of World War II in Europe, none are likely to feel more political kinship with the host, President Vladimir Putin, than Hu Jintao.
At the same time, few leaders attending the ceremonies in Moscow will face as complex a relationship with the Russians as the Chinese president.
Hu's visit to Russia, which will start Sunday, will be his second since he assumed office in 2003. He has yet to visit the United States as president.

Whatever the complexities, you can bet the President of China is up to the challenge. So far, his diplomatic trips have brought home a stellar briefcase stuffed with great contracts, treaties and offers of mutual support. He is a diplomatic whirlwind. Note that he is shunning the USA right now as he builds up his own bargaining position.

Meanwhile, the American press praises dominatrix bootie Condi for being "tough" and calling it as it is and showing strength by slapping people we want to court. With this childish cheerleading egging her on she is lashing out at all and sundry. I have noted her in the past, when under pressure, her voice trembles and her eyes blink rapidly and she stutters. A rather fearful woman. Like all frightened people she becomes a bully when she can get away with it. Encouraged by her boss as well as the press, she now marches around gleefully blurting out whatever pops into her ideological head. For an "expert" in "Soviet politics" she displays a tin ear and a cross eyed view of things. She obviously never had to handle any Soviet diplomats in her life, unlike myself (a long story here).

On the other hand in stark contrast, Hu and Putin must be laughing at Bush as they co conspire-- being pretty good buddies by now--Condi tries pressuring China yet again in her clumsy, pointy shoed way:

A senior U.S. envoy asked Chinese officials last week to cut off North Korea's supply of oil as a way of pressuring the government to return to disarmament talks. But the Chinese rebuffed the idea, saying it would damage their pipeline, according to U.S. officials briefed on the talks.

After Assistant Secretary of State Christopher R. Hill raised the idea of a "technical" interruption of fuel in a meeting in Beijing on April 26, one senior Chinese official, Yang Xiyu, complained that the Americans were focused on too narrow a range of tools for China to influence Pyongyang. Chinese officials suggested that cutting off food deliveries would have the greatest impact on Pyongyang, and indicated Beijing was considering expanding a ban on certain imports to North Korea. But they did not elaborate on their comments or indicate any action was forthcoming, U.S. officials said.

Hill's push for a Chinese fuel cutoff is part of an escalating struggle between North Korea and the United States that has raised tensions across North Asia. North Korea announced in February that it was a nuclear power and said it would not return to six-nation talks on its nuclear programs -- which now have not taken place for 11 months -- because of the Bush administration's "hostile policy." U.S. officials have responded with increasingly dark warnings about North Korean threats and behavior, including suggesting two weeks ago that North Korea may be laying the groundwork for its first nuclear test.

"They are escalating as we speak," said one senior U.S. official yesterday, speaking on the condition of anonymity. "It is becoming much more tense."

Isn't this hilarious? "They are escalating as we speak" indeed! Well, duh. Welcome to the real world, buddy. We just pushed Japan into openly attacking China by saying they will support Taiwan independence militarily and so things get a tad testy. Time to ask the Chinese for a few favors! I notice all over the news hysteria that the Chinese will do what Greenspan wants. Because we can pressure them. Yeah, right. Sure. With what, pray tell? Close our borders to trade? That will be most interesting to watch. While there is concern about the dollar vs the yuan the yen has driven up the value of the dollar deliberately. With friends like this...Japan just announced they are pulling out of Iraq, by the way. More fall out on Koizumi's head. The Japanese are becoming increasingly alarmed by his foreign adventures.

Signifying the divide between Washington and Pyongyang, Chinese officials also told Hill about an unofficial North Korean proposal for ending the impasse that even Beijing deemed unrealistic. The North Korean idea called for a secret bilateral meeting between the United States and North Korea, during which the United States would privately apologize for Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice's comment that North Korea was an "outpost of tyranny"After that secret session, North Korea would consider returning to six-nation negotiations.

I would hope Condi can read. There it is in bold, courtesy of the author of "Diplomacy for Bullies": she opened her big mouth and her words went splat. Everyone knows the USA will never apologize. We can't! It is too late. But the lesson has to be learned some time. Words matter. Speaking "the truth" is not the job of a diplomat. It never was and never will be. This is why we call careful speech, "Talking diplomatically". This is why children are admonished to not say, "Look at that ugly woman over there". See? If a five year old can learn to curb the tongue so can an adult woman. But I don't see this happening. Bush and Condi spend a lot of time, sans Laura, together. And I am not talking office time, either. They obviously egg each other on and giggle while snuggling, this must be a great turn on for both of them. Flush with excitement, they go for each other.

Meanwhile, our international relations goes up in flames.

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