The Unz Review • An Alternative Media Selection$
A Collection of Interesting, Important, and Controversial Perspectives Largely Excluded from the American Mainstream Media
 BlogviewEric Margolis Archive
Make Diplomacy, Not War
Email This Page to Someone

 Remember My Information


Bookmark Toggle AllToCAdd to LibraryRemove from Library • B
Show CommentNext New CommentNext New ReplyRead More
ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
These buttons register your public Agreement, Disagreement, Thanks, LOL, or Troll with the selected comment. They are ONLY available to recent, frequent commenters who have saved their Name+Email using the 'Remember My Information' checkbox, and may also ONLY be used three times during any eight hour period.
Ignore Commenter Follow Commenter
Search Text Case Sensitive  Exact Words  Include Comments
List of Bookmarks

NEW YORK – The wicked 19th century American cynic Ambrose Bierce defined diplomacy in his “Devil’s Dictionary” as “the patriotic art of lying for one’s country.”

True enough. But diplomacy is also the fine art of getting one’s way without war, and convincing people that it’s in their interest to do what you want them to do.

I have high regard for the arts of diplomacy. They are a hallmark of civilized behavior. Four decades ago, I almost joined the US diplomatic service but decided against it, fearing my big mouth would land me in hot water.

As an almost diplomat and veteran foreign affairs commentator, I’ve been watching Republicans go after the Obama administration’s UN ambassador, Susan Rice. They are trying to somehow pin the death of the US ambassador to Libya last September on Rice, who had originally claimed the attack that killed him was caused by mob violence over an anti-Muslim hate video rather than a “terrorist” attack.

Now that Rice is rumored to be in line to replace Hillary Clinton as US Secretary of State, this ugly spat has become even more important. It throws a spotlight on America’s stunning lack of diplomacy.

Rice is no diplomat. She has served as an attack dog at the UN Security Council for the Obama administration, showing particular vitriol for Arabs and Muslims. Rice is a neoconservative. If she’s a diplomat, I’m Kublai Khan.

During this week’s UN General Assembly session that finally granted 6 million Palestinians observer status, Rice was scathing and sneering at the Palestinians. She was joined by Canada, whose new right wing government is having a love affairs with Israel’s Likud Party.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has been a poor Secretary of State, a traveling enforcer for the White House rather than a diplomat. She got the job as a consolation prize for losing the presidential nomination. Her tenure in office has done nothing to advance America’s cause.

Now, the White House wants to replace her with the even less competent Rice.

Since 2001, the most important part of America’s relations with other nations has been run by the Pentagon, not the State Department. The White House and CIA have taken away other responsibilities from State.

America’s foreign policy has become over-militarized. In fact, the US military establishment has assumed the primary role in many parts of the world – notably the Mideast, South Asia, and, increasingly, Africa and the north Pacific.

The globe is divided into six US military commands. The US Central Command – CENTCOM – watches over the entire Mideast and South Asia and runs wars in Afghanistan and Yemen. The oldest command, PACOM, watches over the entire Pacific region and mainland South Asia. SOUTHCOM over Latin America, EUCOM over Europe and Russia, and Northcom over North America.

These commands liase with senior military officers of nations in their various regions. But since the military dominates many nations of Africa and Asia, the US general in charge of the regional command is almost always more important locally than the US ambassador.


Washington’s most important relations with most Latin American, Mideast, and African regimes are operated through military channels. For example, until recently, South Korea’s powerful armed forces were actually under command of a US general. The armed forces of Turkey and Egypt were joined at the hip to the Pentagon. Japan often behaves like a country under foreign military occupation.

The advent of the so-called “War on Terror” in 2001 caused US military and intelligence budgets to double. The US found itself at war in Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Somalia, Yemen, and Libya. Diplomacy was sidelined as brawn replaced brain in foreign affairs.

Democrats are pushing for former presidential candidate Senator John Kerry of Massachusetts, a widely respected veteran legislator and former soldier, to replace Mrs Clinton. Kerry has the experience, gravitas, dignity and strength appropriate to a US Secretary of State – one of the very highest offices in the land.

Kerry is a Clinton Democrat: highly educated, sophisticated and worldly, a man who would command respect and attention.

Most important, Kerry could lead a sound US foreign policy that is not dominated by domestic lobbies and narrow interests.

(Republished from by permission of author or representative)
• Category: Foreign Policy • Tags: Susan Rice 
Current Commenter

Leave a Reply - Comments on articles more than two weeks old will be judged much more strictly on quality and tone

 Remember My InformationWhy?
 Email Replies to my Comment
Submitted comments have been licensed to The Unz Review and may be republished elsewhere at the sole discretion of the latter
Commenting Disabled While in Translation Mode
Subscribe to This Comment Thread via RSS Subscribe to All Eric Margolis Comments via RSS
Personal Classics
“America’s strategic and economic interests in the Mideast and Muslim world are being threatened by the agony in...
Bin Laden is dead, but his strategy still bleeds the United States.
Egyptians revolted against American rule as well as Mubarak’s.
A menace grows from Bush’s Korean blind spot.
Far from being a model for a “liberated” Iraq, Afghanistan shows how the U.S. can get bogged down Soviet-style.