Wednesday, July 8, 2009

"Dialogue-First" Diplomacy

CBS News has an excellent critique of Obama's foreign policy called, "Dialogue-First Diplomacy Not Working." A better title for Obama's foreign policy would be something like "apologies & appeasement," but the author, Juan Zarate, is a bit nicer than I am. Zarate makes some excellent points, one of them critical.
dialogue is merely a tactic and cannot succeed without leverage.
Unfortunately the Obama administration doesn't seem to understand this, and apparently sees talk as an end in itself. It doesn't matter that there's little to talk about, that we have no leverage, or that the other state has diametrically opposed interests, the president appears to have a mystical belief in the value of talking for the sake of talking. But as Zarate notes,
Blind adherence to the prospects of dialogue without looking for opportunities to create leverage will lead to missed opportunities and a weakened U.S. position at any negotiating table. Events with North Korea and Iran are already making this lesson clear and outpacing the Administration's dialogue-first diplomacy.
The entire article is worth reading.

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