Diplomacy, What's That?

By: J.G. Schwam - 03/14/03


"All war represents a failure of diplomacy." - Tony Benn British Labour politician. Feb. 28, 1991


Today North Korea test fired a missile from its East Coast into the sea. This is not the first time they have done so. Condelezza Rice and Colin Powell are on the record as implying that do not see enough of a threat to begin to engage North Korea in a dialogue to end their saber rattling.

Sensible minds understand that despite the Bush administrations claims that North Korea's Taepodong-2 missile could reach the west coast of North America, this action by North Koreas politically backward regime is way of attempting to force the United States into a dialogue. While this may be nothing more than an attempt at blackmail for aid it is not sensible for the state department to put on blinders and allow Pyongyang to grow increasingly antsy.

Bush's axis of evil rhetoric made North Korea, already the worlds most xenophobic and backward regime believe they have something to fear from the United Sates.  The Bush administrations glaring lack of any experienced diplomats has put the American people in this position, one that has allowed the security of North America to be threatened by the worlds only true rogue nuclear power. Their lack of interest in diplomacy and inability to understand the real meaning of the signals North Korea is sending has created this situation.

If the Bush government intends to execute its foreign policy at gunpoint then real efforts to engage in anything other than its salutary diatribe is of little value. This puts the once respectable Colin Powell into the sad position of looking like nothing more than Von Ribbentrop in a three piece suit. With Bush's policy of diplomatic non-engagement in the face of threats that are really a call for acknowledgement we will never learn if Powell could indeed become an effective statesman or negotiator. Bush appears to be unwilling to embrace true diplomacy at all. So all the poor secretary of state can do is support his presidents' cadre of war hungry ideologues.

Some cogitate that North Korea simply wants to be paid off. They have no real intention of launching nuclear missile at the US or its allies. This is likely the case. The issue is that if we are going to engage in a policy of payoff diplomacy then why not pay for peaceful resolutions and not just payoffs for complicity in war such as the outrageous proposal of paying $26 billion to Turkey for their complicity in making war on Iraq?

A better solution would be to engage in trade talks with North Korea. The obsolete cold war mentality of Bush's war mongering policy cabal that includes Cheney, Perl and Wolfowitz sees trade with communist regimes like North Korea out of the question on principal. The fact is that money, especially legitimate money instead of payoffs softens the hardest heads. The xenophobes will come out of their shell a bit after they have tasted a bit of capitalist fruit. They will then trust our motives enough to back off from their saber rattling and engage in talks that result in real disarmament and we'll have made money in the process and not just dumped good money after bad. A similar policy has been highly successful in China.

The cold war is over let's not start building another iron curtain in the east. Ideological differences should no be longer a justification for war. China does not want to see the United States Korea policy or lack thereof force a nuclear buildup in its hemisphere. If there is any hope of not creating new terrorist cells by angering those that do not already see the US as the next evil empire it is in diplomacy, not in returning to an age of fear, distrust and escalation.


J.G. Schwam is a contributing writer for Liberal Slant


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