Tag Archives: diplomacy

Patience Instead Of Violence Urged On Israel

The rush to judgment on the part of the Netanyahu government reminds those who have studied American-Soviet relations of Americans who wanted to drop atomic bombs on the enemy because unless the US acted immediately, evil would triumph. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in a recent TV interview, urged the Israel government to halt its head-long determination for a finality with Iran. She termed Israel’s Iran policy “futile” and that it would only result in disaster for both nations. “We have negotiated with many governments who we did not believe represented the will of their people. Look at all the negotiations that went on with the Soviet Union. That’s what you get to do in diplomacy. You don’t get to choose the people. It required fifty years of negotiation with the Soviet Union before democracy and peace came to that nation.

Recent events in Iran indicate a significant portion of its population seek peace and democracy. The future of Iran is still unknown, but one thing is for certain, an Israel air attack on Iran would unite the nation behind the current rulers and kill any hope for democracy in that nation for twenty years. Sometimes, the race actually goes to the turtle rather than the hare.

Obama Reaches Out To Iran

President Barack Obama sent a message of friendship to Iran as that nation celebrated its new Year. In his video, the president tried to make clear to the people of Iran and its leaders that his nation wanted to establish “constructive ties.” He mad clear a new American leader did not wish to continue the animosity that George Bush generated with Iran. “My administration is now committed to diplomacy.” Iranian leaders responded in a hesitant manner and demanded that words be matched with actions on the part of the United States. They want practical steps such as ending US support of Israel, an outcome that most probably will not occur.

Unfortunately, the Obama message came just as Israel was lambasting Iran for its nuclear development and support of terrorism. There are practical ways in which the United States can build new relations with Iran. It might begin by apologizing to the people of Iran for the CIA plot to overthrow the moderate secular government of Mossadegh in 1953. America must take responsibility for its actions.

Turkish Foreign Minister Urges Political Solution!

Foreign Minister Ali Babacan urged Western powers to re-evaluate their approach to handling problems in Afghanistan and switch from a focus on military action to one which emphasizes the importance of diplomacy. He offered scant hope that sending thousands of more American troops to Afghanistan will result in what President Obama or military leaders seek to achieve. Instead, Babacan wants to focus more intently on political solutions. “We believe that some and indeed most of the groups that support the Taliban could be drawn into politics through negotiations. If this happens, the elections will have greater participation.” Bacan warned sending more troops to Afghanistan would only increase the ability of the Taliban to launch more attacks.

Babacan is urged the United States to pursue diplomacy and step one is to engage Iran with the entire Afghanistan situation. The Shiite Iranian government is no friend of the Sunni Taliban and therefore could be an ally in dealing with the insurgents. Involving Iran as an ally in fighting the Taliban could eventually help resolve problems with that nation over its nuclear policy.

Obama Policy Is Talk With All Without Preconditions

In a sharp break with the foreign policy approach of George Bush, the Obama administration made clear its intention to enter into discussions with any nation without insisting on any pre-condtion. Obama said he was willing to talk with Iran and believes honest and open diplomacy is the best way to ensure that all nations engage in fruitful talks in order to achieve peace. The new administration made clear any talks would b “tough and direct’ and the United States would work to end the spread of nuclear weapons. “In carrying out this diplomacy, we will coordinate closely with out allies and proceed with careful preparation. Seeking this kind of comprehensive settlement with Iran is our best way to make progress.”

An important goal of American foreign policy toward Iran is achieving a diplomatic breakthrough which will assist forces of reform in that nation to gain power.

Cool It TV Commentators, Says Turkey Prime Minister!

Prime Minister Reecp Erdogan expressed anger at Turkish television commentators who were urging the government to take action and invade Iraq. He noted television programs were featuring former generals and military men who spoke in a jingoistic manner about the glory of war. “At times, I see commentators who are supposedly experts on the subject. They serve as public servants for provocation.” He noted as a prime minister he has obligations to engage in diplomatic exchanges, not talk wildly about war. Erdogan will meet with President Bush on November 5 and, “will openly tell him that we expect concrete immediate steps against the terrorists.” The Turkish prime minister says the manner in which Bush and Iraq respond to demands for neutralizing border regions to prevent terrorist attacks would be a critical test of sincerity on their part. Erdogan believes his nation is a “part of the world, and we should not forget that diplomacy has certain requirements.” He expressed willingness to engage in meaningful talks, but he also expected results will emanate from such exchanges. The Patriotic Union of Kurdistan and the Kurdistan Democratic Party both said they would work with Iraqi and US officials to neutralize border regions and avoid violence.

Perhaps, President Bush might lean something about how a leader conducts himself in the midst of crisis. Erdogan is speaking in a tough manner, but always indicating receptiveness for discussion and dialogue with opponents. He is open to talking with various factions and does not demand preconditions for engaging in dialogue. Are you listening, Mr. Bush?

Turkish Military Urges Calm In Rebel Crisis

During the past several days thousands have marched in the streets of Turkey’s major cities waving banners urging war against Kurdish rebels even if it means invading Iraq. Chief of Staff General Yasar Buyukanit asked the Turkish people to show restraint during the crisis because to do so would allow terrorists determining the actions of the Turkish government. He appreciated cries of “Take us into the army” but did not wish a rush to violent judgement. However, journalists were upset at a ban imposed on TV channels by the Minister of Defense, Cemil Cicek which denied TV commentators the right to discuss any reports that “affect the public order, morale, and psychology of the people negatively and create a weak image of the Turkish security forces.” The ban did not apply to newspapers.

It is rather ironic for Americans to observe the head of an armed force asking calm from the population during terrorist attacks. In 2003, no American military leader stepped forth with words of calm and restraint, they allowed themselves to be bullied by Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld, into marching into Iraq with flags flying. What would have happened if Chief of Staff Shinseki had been allowed to tell Congress of his concerns regarding the planned invasion?

War Chants Heard In Turkey As Diplomats Try For Peace

Thousands of Turks marched through the streets of their nation shouting for war with Kurdish rebels even it if means invading Iraq. In the meantime, Turkish leaders were holding meetings in London, Washington, and Baghdad in a last minute effort to avert a new Iraq war. Prime Minister Erdogan told his counterpart, Gordon Brown, in London that an attack might come at “any time” unless the Iraq government was able to control Kurdish rebels of the PKK. Turkish Foreign Minister Ali Babacan in Baghdad informed Iraq’s Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari that war was the last resort of his nation because, “we do not want to sacrifice our cultural and economic relations with Iraq for the sake of a terrorist organization.”

Four years ago President Bush in his usual tough talking way persuaded the American Congress to allow an invasion of Iraq in search of WMD because diplomacy had failed. Today, more mature leaders like Prime Minister Erdogan of Turkey are trying the diplomatic route despite having over two dozen of their soldiers killed by Kudish insurgents. It is unfortunate for America that it lacked leaders with diplomatic skills in 2003 who could have worked hard to achieve our foreign policy goals without resorting to war.