Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Speaking Diplomatically

I have a strong distaste for what we might call "Cowboy Politics." It's one thing to believe that a foreign nation is acting in a way that is adverse to our nation's interest and another to publically call them part of an "axis of evil", for one thing. Tough talk sounds great in movies and, to some extent, presidential debates, but in the end, we live in a world with shades of deep grey in our international relationships. We have to live with the world community when all is said and done - we can't simply ignore or bomb them into agreeing with us.

So, when a top candidate for the Republican Party's nomination calls the Palestinian people an "invented" people[1], he is treading on thin ice. Many countries strongly disagree with the sentiment, including many of the fledling democracies rising from the Arab Spring. Now is the time to be focussing on constructive conversations with the nations risinig from decades of oppressive rule, not to give them more reasons to hate us and shun our counsel.

Some people may decry this as appeasement and too soft a stance - after all, we're the world's only superpower, right? As a student of history, I would respond that nations rise and fall, and our time as the sole mega force may be waning. China and India are certainly on the rise. The Eurozone, though in dire financial straits and unable at present to form a tighter union, is still not to be discounted. Russia still weilds great influence, if dimished from their USSR heights. If we act brashly now, who will stand by us when next we experience disaster, natural or manmade? Make friends before you need them, before it's too late.

If only the politics of moderation were more in vogue - it seems that each of the two major parties becomes more and more polarized as time goes on. Centrist candidates for congress have been thinned by those more on the extremes, thus leading to stalemaes multiple times this year as representatives refuse to compromise. Shooting from the hip and appearing strong do not make us so. Our leaders need to be careful what enemies they make, both for themselves and the rest of us. Gingrich - I ask you to recant and temper your language. If you seriously want the nomination, you must act presidential. That means you must always put the nation's best interest before your own personal whim and desire.

[1] Palestinians Bristle At Gingrich Comments