Monday, July 17, 2006

Diplomacy: A Call for Resurrection

Diplomacy is dead. Of course, this is not news: it's been dead going on six years now. We've gone from an administration that believed in diplomacy; that put both value and talent to the mission of talking through intransigence, to another administration that looks down its nose at diplomacy; whose PR machine has made it into a positive evil, spattering it with a "chocolate and flowers" rhetoric. Today we are governed by people who believe that there is no greater good than action—no matter how rash, ill considered, or falsely grounded—to act is to evade the exposure that reflection and discussion would otherwise provide.

How can you tell for sure that diplomacy is dead? The spread of war is one big tip-off; but another is the warlike rage that has taken over discourse, on both the right and the left.

But especially the right. Last week, I was referred to as a "Nazi," a KKK wannabee, and a Hezbollah-lover, because of a remark I made here about the Israeli government (a remark which was seconded, apparently, by none other than Condi herself). Mind you, the attack came not from some anonymous zealot on the Comments board, but from a personal acquaintance of mine. I'm not going to name him, because that would be an unfair use of this public space, and a continuance of the cult of warfare that has infected our dialogue here at home as a pall of death spreads over the planet.

But I want to submit that if we panic now, we are doomed. Our children will inherit a wasteland Earth; the desolation will, most likely, be irremediable. We have heard the voices of panic: they are those that have spoken of an Axis of Evil; those that pointed to little marks on a Google Earth picture and said, "WMDs"; and now we are hearing from Panic in the form of a call for the execution of the editor of the Times.

Take it from a fellow who has studied psychopathology: panic never works. It always fails. Panic is not a doctrine, not a policy, and certainly not journalism. It is a mental illness. Thankfully, there are still both Democrats and Republicans out there who understand this; and we are very fortunate here at Daily Rev to have a Republican who understands it better than perhaps anybody I know. Therefore, we now bring you, from the right, Mr. Terence McKenna. I'd call on all our readers to pay particular attention to the last sentence of Terry's piece, because if our leaders could say that very thing—and mean it—I feel that we'd be on the first step of the path toward the resurrection of diplomacy.

This short note is an “I told you so” for Joe Lieberman, Hillary Clinton and all the rest of the democrats who went along with the Iraq war. And remember, both France and Germany wanted us to slow down – give the weapons inspectors more time – hope for something to turn up. Well we didn’t and now we are stuck learning the lessons that we could have learned much more cheaply from history.

So here goes… in June of 1941, Nazi Germany had the strongest army in the world. Flushed with success, Hitler invaded Russia. The German plans called for a three-pronged attack that could only succeed if everything went their way – including a 10-week timetable for victory.

They almost pulled it off. By July, few thought Russia would survive, but by the late fall, rain made Russian roads impassible (few were properly paved). By December, the harsh Russian winter turned the tide. In January 1942, Hitler authorized the first retreat.

Turn the pages of history almost 65 years, and we see another ambitious military power that has bitten off more than it could chew. We were eager to leapfrog from easy success in Afghanistan to easy success in Iraq. Well now we’re mired in an Iraqi civil war while in Afghanistan the old sparks are burning. In the meantime, bad actors like Syria and Iran are using their own special forces and surrogates to bother us and Israel. The Israelis are boxed in – more or less forced to defend themselves, but in doing so, putting the rest of us ever so close to a wider crisis. And then there is North Korea.

And no…I don’t have any answers, but I can say one thing, we need much more than spin.

—T. McKenna

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