On Fox News Sunday today, Bill Kristol and Brit Hume complained about President Obama’s weak New Year’s statement to Iran. Hume went off on tangent about how bad it was for the U.S. to practicing diplomacy like the rest of the world, and engaging in the diplomacy of talk.
Here is the video courtesy of ThinkProgress:
We all know that Bill Kristol is never happy unless the U.S. military is on the march somewhere, and that he would love nothing more than to see the U.S. invade Iran. In fact, he probably dreams about it while he sleeps. The really interesting thing in this video is Hume’s rant against diplomacy. This anti-diplomacy stance is neo-con creation. Believe it or not, there was a time when Republicans were prudent with the use of military force, and embraced the practice of diplomacy.
I suppose today’s neo-cons consider Richard Nixon weak for going to China, and Ronald Reagan weak for engaging in all those summits and meetings with the Soviet Union that helped end the Cold War. Hume praised the Bush definition of diplomacy that negotiations are always accompanied by a threat of force. Hume quoted Condi Rice who believed that diplomacy without the threat of force behind is just talk. This definition is warped, because diplomacy is supposed to be an alternative to force, not a precursor.
What the Bush administration practiced was not diplomacy. Their idea of negotiations was to make demands and threaten consequences. To use the famous Bush phrase, “You’re either with us or against us.” As a result of this stance the Bush administration was a complete diplomatic failure.
The Middle East peace process fell apart and also landed the U.S. in Iraq. Most tellingly, after the Bush administration’s strong armed tactics resulted in N. Korea accelerating their nuclear program. Bush had to return to the diplomatic framework laid out by the Clinton administration.
I don’t think it would have been appropriate for Obama to send the Iranian people a holiday message full of saber rattling. There is a reason why most countries don’t follow the Bush diplomatic policy. It escalates, instead of resolving conflicts.
Obama didn’t get all warm and fuzzy with Iran in his message. All he did was open the door of communication, while not sending signals that they could face a U.S. invasion. Iran will be one of the biggest foreign policy challenges facing the Obama administration, and a solution is likely to be found through diplomacy, not military might.