Diplomats vs. Dips
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Why We Should Expect Another 9/11
Article #26 –
As that classic song says: “the times they are a’changing.” First Tunisia, then Egypt and now Bahrain, Algeria, Oman, Libya and Lord knows who else. “Regime change” is in the air. Could it be that the days of the dictators are coming to an end?
America has never been good at “regime change.” Perhaps it’s because we have never ‘changed regimes’ since the Revolutionary War. Whatever the reason, we can’t seem to get it right as exemplified below:
The above represent the dictators America has supported to lesser and greater degrees. FDR once referred to Rafael Trujillo, dictator of the Dominican Republic, as “our own son of a bitch.”
It took me a while to figure it out, but I have now developed a failsafe way to determine which government will end up in power. Look at who the Americans are backing and then go with the other side.
Think about it; a ‘regime change’ is a 50-50 shot. There are only 2 possibilities. Sheer odds would seem to indicate we’d get lucky every once in a while. Sadly, it isn’t the case.
Why? Because we are not getting good feedback from our troops on the ground (i.e. American Diplomats) or we’re not listening to what they say because D.C. has its own agenda. Either way, America loses.
Perhaps it’s because we don’t have to get it. Throughout our history, when things got rocky, we withdrew within our own borders and tuned out the rest of the world. World War I started in 1914. America didn’t join until 1917. World War II started in 1939. We joined in 1941, only after being bombed by Japan. With the exceptions of Canada and Mexico, we have a continent to ourselves. Therefore, since the end of the Revolutionary War, diplomacy has not been vital to our national interests. Until roughly 1900, all our energies were expended in absorbing a continent. As a result, we pretty much do what we want, when we want and ignore the rest of the planet.
We can no longer afford this luxury. The world has become too small. We must now learn to share this planet with everyone else.
Accordingly, we can no longer afford a short-term foreign policy predicated on partisan politics. We must implement a long-term foreign policy and strategy. Like our military, the State Department must become apolitical, professional, well-trained, linguistically advanced, well-equipped and totally focused on the long-term big picture. We have to stop ‘reacting’ and start ‘proacting.’
For example, right now if the People’s Republic of Upper Slobovia doesn’t like us and we don’t like them, it’s no big deal for them. Because we’re the ‘good guys,’ they know we won’t bomb them. Therefore, all they have to do is wait 4 years, a new administration will take over in D.C. and everything will change. After the Shah fell, Iran overran our embassy and took our diplomats hostage. Iran didn’t like Jimmy Carter. Therefore, they waited until Ronald Reagan took office and then immediately returned our hijacked diplomats.
In a recent poll, we Americans decided that Ronald Reagan was our greatest president. While I very much liked Reagan, it is a sad commentary on George and Abe.
So, let’s take a look at a couple of the American ambassadors which he appointed.
In 1981, Ronald Reagan appointed John Gavin, a movie actor, to be our ambassador to Mexico. On the surface, it looks pretty bogus. However, as it turned out, it wasn’t such a crazy choice. John Gavin was half Mexicano, spoke fluent Spanish and got his BA at Stanford in Latin American Economic History. He served until 1986.
Also in 1981, Ronald Reagan appointed a fellow to be ambassador to one of our closest allies. I will not give the name or country because it did not turn out well and his host country formally asked him to be withdrawn. He was a businessman, not a diplomat. I had the opportunity to have dinner with him several times just before he assumed his post. He called a spade a spade. During dinner, he said: “I supposed I’ll have to be nice to the damned ‘racial slur’.” Honesty and bluntness have their places, but it does not and cannot sit well on an ambassador. His sole claim to ambassadorial status was his resounding success as a fundraiser in a key electoral state.
As previously mentioned, John Gavin, short of a minor physical tiff with a reporter, did a creditable job. The problem was his competition. For example, his French counterpart had been ambassador and/or attached to the French Embassy/Consulate in Mexico for over 30 years and had married a Mexicana. Care to guess who’s going to get the inside track?
It’s a diplomatic war out there and we’re losing it. We’ve been losing it for over 50 years. We’re in the bottom of the 9th, with two strikes out. It’s high time we send in the A-Team, not a bunch of amateur political hacks who are playing out of their league.
Winston Churchill was the consummate diplomat. He convinced FDR to support England and engage in war. Japan bombed Pearl Harbor; that was the excuse. The following day, 8 December 1941, America declared war on Germany and Italy. Churchill succinctly summed it up:
“You can always count on the Americans to do the right thing, but only after they have exhausted every other possibility.”
We can no longer afford to explore ‘every other possibility.’ We have to get it right the first time.
We MUST field a professional, apolitical, linguistically and socially adept, knowledgeable team of experienced diplomats to effectively and efficiently represent America’s policy and beliefs. The time for amateurs is over.
Until next time,
Thanks for your comments, please keep them coming –
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P.S. For those of you who want more than a snappy synopsis of the whys and wherefores of 9/11, I refer you to www.intelwire.com. It is managed by a good friend, John Berger. He is a certified terrorist consultant, who documents his colons and commas. If it's there, you can take it to the bank.
Copyright 2010 Cook Communication