Thursday, May 12, 2005

Dumb Diplomacy is Deadly

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American embassy staff leaving Germany 1917

Regular readers of this news service know that we concentrate a lot on diplomatic matters. Seemingly, this would be a boring topic but it ties together all the elements that are working away at our essential existence. Namely, when diplomacy finally fails, bad stuff happens. For many years, the editor of this blog haunted the dustier back sections of huge libraries seeking information that hasn't been filtered by subsequent writers. One great find was the diplomatic cables and letters that passed through the American Embassy in Berlin in 1914. The ambassador, James Watson Gerard, when he returned from Germany, put them together to show how hard America worked to try to avert WWI. It was interesing reading. What hit me the hardest was a penned in notation by the American ambassador.

"The Kaiser is so stupid! I can't believe he didn't read this!"

Stupidity has a downside. It can cause literally millions of people's painful deaths. Luckily for us all, this book by Gerard is online. It is an important book to read (oh no, another reading assignment!). Here is a sample of one of the letters:

"Your Excellency:

Is there nothing that my country can do? Nothing that I can do towards stopping this dreadful war?

I am sure that the President would approve any act of mine looking towards peace.

Yours ever,

(Signed) JAMES W. GERARD."

To this letter I never had any reply.


When diplomatic language is dropped and people start talking harshly and "in your face" and calling names it makes things worse and then wars break out. We just witnessed our witless leader boasting in former Soviet satellite nations that if he were running WWII he would have won the war totally and pushed the Soviet army out of Europe and perhaps out of Russia, too. This sort of childish talk is beyond dangerous. When the top military power in the world fantasizes about attacking an ally during a war this sends a very nasty message to the real world. It isn't just mere boasting. It is a declaration that he will stab in the back any ally that stands in his path. Americans like to imagine everyone is in total awe in front of us. Even when screaming crowds of outraged citizens of other nations burn our flag and attack our fortress embassies we remain puzzled.

As Bush famously said on 9/12 right after the WTC attacks, "Why do they hate us? We are the good guys".

Unable to see why we are the bad guys is bad. Here is the perpetually stupid Brooks of the NYT:

Usually the bug dies. When a presidential nominee is treated like an ant under a magnifying glass under the noonday sun, when he has the full scrutiny of the media and Congressional investigators focused upon him, he usually gets incinerated.

But over the past two weeks John Bolton's confirmation prospects have gotten stronger. What happened?

On April 19, Bolton's nomination was knocked off-track by Senators Chris Dodd and Joe Biden at a Foreign Relations Committee hearing. They made powerful presentations against Bolton, which clearly spooked several Republicans. So investigators were dispatched to interview dozens of Bolton's colleagues to get a deeper view of his conduct.

The interview transcripts suggest that Bolton could behave in a "fairly blunt manner" and that some people felt "undue pressure" to conform to his views, as John Wolf, a former assistant secretary of state, testified.


Brook's inability to tell the truth prevents him from examining what is going on. Bush is strongarming "moderate" Republicans. He is using bribes and threats. The waverers are people like Chaffee who has significant military/industrial complex facilities in his state. Bush threatened to cut them so Chaffee kow towed to the emperor. What a surprise.

This didn't mean he suddenly understood that Bolton is merely all bluster and no bite. Indeed, Bolton, like Bush, is proud of being both a biter and a blusterer. He imagines this makes him steadfast and strong. Sort of like the German Staff officers when they started WWI and WWII.

But they also reveal that Bolton has a professional sense of limits. He'd push his views, and push hard. But after he'd had his say, he would almost always bow to the dictates of the organization.


Dicatates of what organization? The GOP? The emperor's? Great. Alas for Brook's "analysis", the "dictates" he "bows" to are his dictatorial boss' wishes! This is very much like how the Nazi organization operated. Does anyone imagine this irritable, undiplomatic, cruel man is doing to enhance our standing at the UN?

Of course not. He is being put there in order to continue the destruction of the UN which is now nearly totally sidelined. Except when Russia and China and Europe want it to function. They keep it running for this purpose. They know the UN will be charged with dealing with the USA when our country goes bankrupt and tries to weasel out of paying what we owe people.

The other thing the transcripts reveal is that many fights over clearing speeches were not about intelligence - they were about policy. The speech-clearance process was the policy-making process. Often when Bolton was pushing back at his colleagues, he was trying to defend the president's policies from dissenters at State.

For example, Larry Wilkerson believed that America's Cuba policy was "the dumbest policy on the face of the earth," as he told GQ. He disagreed strongly with the idea of imposing sanctions on arms proliferators, as he told Senate investigators.


Our Cuban policy is insane. It backfires more often than an old jalopie. Bolton slavishly enforces the dictates of his Leader, Bush. Even in the teeth of certain destruction. Great. Now China and Venezuela have both boosted Castro's power and have a strong foothold right next to our borders. Even as we are being forced out of Asia. Great.

That's because Bolton's job was to stand up for the president's policies.


"Standing up" means screaming and yelling and making threats and becoming totally deranged. Yes, that is the job of a political hack. This is why the words, "political hack" were invented. To describe exactly this sort of unprincipled creature. Placing a rank political neocon hack in the UN means losing more face, losing more allies, losing more power.

The neocons want to destroy the UN. As this blog keeps noting, the ancient Chinese curse, may your wishes come true, certainly applies here.
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