There is something in the psychological makeup of politicians and career diplomats that drives them to the same conclusions time after time after time despite overwhelming evidence that they are just dead wrong. No, I’m not talking about President Obama’s one-note tune on taxing the rich although it is a perfect example. Nor am I talking about the “aspirin between the knees” birth control philosophy of people associated with Sen. Rick Santorum’s campaign, but that too would be a good example.
This time we are referring to the psychological disorder reserved to the boneheads in the State Department and the politicians who actually listen to and give credence to their diplomatic jabberwocky. It’s like “Groundhog Day” in which the same thing recurs with the same response and the same outcome and nobody learns a damn thing from any of it.
In the past week the same three rogue regimes – Syria, Iran and North Korea – have been in the news. Unfortunately it isn’t new news; it’s the same old thing. President Bashar al Assad, continuing forty years of thuggery begun by his father, Hafez al-Assad, is about to, for the umpteenth time, violate an agreement to stop murdering his own people. But each time he says that he will stop, the diplomatic corps and world leaders hail it as a triumph. If Charlie Manson, or Ted Bundy, announced that they would stop murdering people would the police and prosecutors hail that as a victory? How about the second, or third, or fourth time they made such a pronouncement only to violate it? Every guy on the street knows that would be insane but somehow each pronouncement by Mr. Assad is celebrated as a victory by the diplomats even though it will inevitably fail.
President Mahmoud Amhadinejad, through intermediaries, has signaled – again – that the radical theocracy in Iran is willing to consider concessions on its nuclear weapons program. Predictably, the diplomats and national leaders are all atwitter that a resolution is at hand. But every guy on the street knows that the Iranian leaders are lying – again. You don’t need a degree from an Ivy League school to know that the talks will drag on and a pretense for terminating the talks or ignoring the outcome will be found by Iran. That all of this is just a means of stalling while they complete work on their nuclear weapons. If a woman believes the repeated assurances from a serially cheating spouse that he will never do it again, we all know that she is either stupid or terminally naïve. (The same is just as true for a man responding to the assurances of a cheating spouse.)
In North Korea the newest generation of a homicidal family, has – in violation of previous agreements – announced the near term launch of a long-range missile – a missile capable of carrying a nuclear weapon. In response the world’s diplomats and leaders have, once again, rushed to the table to see what it is that they can give North Korea to keep it from violating the last agreement that they paid it to accept. Every man on the street knows that a blackmail scheme never ends – that there is always one more demand, one more threat, and one more concession.
And yet, here are the Druids of Foggy Bottom – pulling on their Meerschaums, and twirling their Courvoisier – in perfect nasal unison, urging another round of pointless negotiations with international criminals. How many years, how many generations, how many failures must the diplomatic corps accept before they come to the conclusion that diplomacy only works among civilized nations both seeking a solution to a common problem? It has never worked in dealing with tyrants, despots or religious fanatics. Every guy confronting a bully knows that. Someone once opined that insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.
Let me suggest an alternative approach to these recent events.
In Syria we should conclude that no matter what we do, a despotic regime will rise to power and continue another 1,500 years of autocratic or theocratic repression and tyranny. The Arab Spring envisioned by Mr. Obama and his diplomatic corps is a myth. There are no “democratic forces” in a position to succeed in Syria and America’s participation in the conflict – directly or indirectly – will only succeed in increasing the wrath of the next despotic regime. We would be far better off increasing the security of the common borders of Israel and Turkey to ensure that our true friends remain safe.
In Iran, we made a major mistake through the last two administrations of gradually increasing economic sanctions. We should have dropped on Iran like a ton of bricks and basically shut them off economically from the rest of the world in one fell swoop. Having failed to do that, and having observed the minimal impact of the “gradualism” of economic sanctions, we should now give Israel the “green light” and the newest bunker buster to ensure the destruction of Iran’s nuclear facilities. At the same time we should quietly inform the Arab nations in close proximity to Israel that America will protect Israel from any retaliations and that any increased hostilities will be at their own danger.
In North Korea we should, like with Iran, drop the whole load of economic sanctions and further isolate that rogue regime from the civilized world. In addition, we should monitor any intended rocket launch and, once it leaves the borders of North Korea, shoot it down. We possess the capabilities of doing so and by doing so we will both deprive the North Koreans of any performance data and send them a clear message that we are prepared to do it again.
Diplomacy works among people of goodwill; only demonstrable strength works with tyrants, despots and other bullies.