War is the failure of diplomacy.
The Bush administration is now engaged in what I call scuttle diplomacy: using diplomatic activity, or in this case inactivity, to scuttle a cease-fire.
It is disingenuous on the part of the administration to claim that there must be continuing war in order to lay the groundwork for a lasting peace. Indeed, there’s a world of difference between a temporary cease-fire and a genuine and just peace — no matter what side you take in this conflict.
You rush to implement a cease-fire precisely so the proper terms of an armistice can be negotiated and human life can be spared. Of course with the Bush administration you wonder just with whom Condi is going to negotiate when she finally does get around to it. Remember, the U.S. doesn’t talk to the Hezbollah. Or Iran. Or Syria any longer.
And now that this piece comes to light, that we are expediting shipments of bombs to Israel while pretending to be an honest broker, we might also wonder just who in the Arab world is going to much feel like negotiating with us. With what moral authority does the U.S. call upon Iran to stop funding and arming Hezbollah when we are rushing a new shipment of satellite and laser guided bombs to Israel while simultaneously opposing diplomatic efforts toward a cease-fire? This from Saturday’s New York Times:
WASHINGTON, July 21 â€” The Bush administration is rushing a delivery of precision-guided bombs to Israel, which requested the expedited shipment last week after beginning its air campaign against Hezbollah targets in Lebanon, American officials said Friday.The decision to quickly ship the weapons to Israel was made with relatively little debate within the Bush administration, the officials said. Its disclosure threatens to anger Arab governments and others because of the appearance that the United States is actively aiding the Israeli bombing campaign in a way that could be compared to Iranâ€™s efforts to arm and resupply Hezbollah.
The munitions that the United States is sending to Israel are part of a multimillion-dollar arms sale package approved last year that Israel is able to draw on as needed, the officials said. But Israelâ€™s request for expedited delivery of the satellite and laser-guided bombs was described as unusual by some military officers, and as an indication that Israel still had a long list of targets in Lebanon to strike.
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said Friday that she would head to Israel on Sunday at the beginning of a round of Middle Eastern diplomacy. The original plan was to include a stop to Cairo in her travels, but she did not announce any stops in Arab capitals…
…To hold the meetings in an Arab capital before a diplomatic solution is reached, said Martin S. Indyk, a former American ambassador to Israel, â€œwould have identified the Arabs as the primary partner of the United States in this project at a time where Hezbollah is accusing the Arab leaders of providing cover for the continuation of Israelâ€™s military operation.â€
The decision to stay away from Arab countries for now is a markedly different strategy from the shuttle diplomacy that previous administrations used to mediate in the Middle East. â€œI have no interest in diplomacy for the sake of returning Lebanon and Israel to the status quo ante,â€ Ms. Rice said Friday. â€œI could have gotten on a plane and rushed over and started shuttling around, and it wouldnâ€™t have been clear what I was shuttling to do.â€ More…
Bombs away. Our tax dollars at work.