Monday, September 18, 2006

This Week Offers an Opportunity for Real Diplomacy

According to, “diplomacy” is defined as 1) the art and practice of conducting negotiations between nations, and 2) skill in handling affairs without arousing hostility. A synonym listed for the word is “tact.”

President Bush has said that diplomacy is the best way to keep Iran from developing nuclear weapons. Certainly this is correct. However, I have to wonder just how hard the Bush administration has tried to achieve real diplomacy. From everything I hear and read in the news, no real diplomacy is occurring. It seems that the only “negotiations” going on between the U.S. and Iran is for our government to make a demand and for Iraq to defy that demand. As far as I can gather, no real face to face negotiations have taken place.

Tomorrow both President Bush and Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad are scheduled to speak at the United Nations. This seems to me the perfect opportunity for the two leaders to sit down at the same table and speak to each other frankly about what each of them wants. However, the Bush administration is going to great lengths to keep the two leaders from even passing each other in the halls of the U.N.:

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad claims he'll dog President Bush this week at the United Nations to force the U.S. leader into a face to face debate over Iran's nuclear program, but the White House is taking extreme measures to keep that from happening.

For starters, Ahmadinejad won't be attending a welcoming reception for world leaders that Bush is hosting Tuesday night at the U.N. Asked if Ahmadinejad had even been invited, a senior administration official told the New York Daily News, "Definitely not."

The Iranian press quoted Ahmadinejad saying last week that Bush officials "did not accept this debate, but I hope that they agree and this debate takes place."

The White House also isn't pleased that Bush and Ahmadinejad are both scheduled to address the U.N. General Assembly on Tuesday. U.S. officials were quietly working to see if the Iranian's talk could be moved to later in the week, hoping to avoid a confrontation between the two leaders in the halls and ensuring that the always colorful Ahmadinejad doesn't steal the day's headlines. (Read the rest of the article here.)

Bush says that he wants diplomacy to work, but instead of taking the opportunity to speak to Ahmadinejad while he is here in the United States, Bush is going to snub the man that he claims he wants to come to an agreement with. This attitude does not resemble anything like “tact.”

What would be so wrong with the two men sitting down together and each laying his cards on the table for the other to see? The Iranian leader claims that he wants a debate, so why not give him the chance for one while he is here? Would Bush look weak for sitting down with his adversary? On the contrary, I believe that if Bush were to meet with Ahmadinejad, he would look stronger. Right now many people perceive Bush as a little bully, someone whose slogan is “my way or the highway.” By meeting with the Iranian president, he could tremendously improve his image and gain respect as a leader who is sincere and truly confident in his convictions. If Ahmadinejad is not sincere in his call for a dialogue with Bush, then that will become evident, and a meeting with Bush will expose him as a fraud. Bush would then be able to tell the rest of the world, “I told you so.”

Bush’s cloak of confidence is actually a prideful, egoistic conceit. Instead of listening to his handlers, our president should be the confident leader that he claims to be and take Ahmadinejad at face value. A try at real diplomacy will expose both men’s true intentions. Maybe that’s what our president is afraid of.


Justin said...

I think the issue here is that if president bush sits down and talks face to face with the iranian president, it lends credibility to his government. The guy desperately wants to be a big wig in world politics and sitting with the president will do that. So the president avoids him which undermines his power.

Its all politics... at this level its not just people with disagreements wanting to sit down and peer mediate things. Its the same reason we haven't done one on one talks with north korea. Regimes that we don't believe deserve recognition as major players we won't talk to one on one. We'll send folks there to talk to them, and we will use diplomacy, but one on one talks just don't happen often.

Can you forsee anything good coming from those two meeting. If they debated and bush came down hard on him, it would only create more anger with radical islamists. If bush loses a debate, these people are going to be more foward in trying to get what they want; nuclear weapons.

You have to remember when you watch the news that there is a thin thin line between politics and theatre. Its all a big show mixed with a chess game. The players don't behave like you and I because they can't.

Tony Arnold said...

It makes Bush look afraid. I think you make excellent points JMG that I agree with. I can't see Ronald Reagan or Bush Sr. dodging this man. I can't see Clinton dodging him.

Until Bush supporters are willing to acknowledge his weakenesses and bad decisions and hold him accoutable for them, George will not be as good as he could be. A leader is harmed when not held accountable by his own team.

Bush is turning into another Napolean.


JMG said...

". . . if president Bush sits down and talks face to face with the Iranian president, it lends credibility to his government.

My point is that if Ahmadinejad is not credible, that would come out in a meeting with Bush, and he (Ahmadinejad) would be exposed to the world as a fraud and as insincere.

"Regimes that we don't believe deserve recognition as major players we won't talk to one on one."

That's too bad because if we don't talk to them, they'll shop around until they get a sympathetic ear.