Thursday 30 November 2006

Left with the bread crumbs of Middle East diplomacy

I’m not doing dinner

It probably was an expression of glee that came across my face when last night we learnt that the Prime Minister of Iraq had decided not to join George W. Bush and the King of Jordan for dinner.

I should know the feeling, I should have been having dinner with my agent when for some “personal” reason she pulled out of the arrangement and then invited me for one of those dastardly Christmas parties where, I end up being the only sober one at 1:00AM listening to the drivel of inebriated colleagues – No thanks!

Every which way it was spun; it was a clear snub to the leader of the Free World who had squandered every opportunity to make a positive difference to world as his non-Midas touch begins to turn golden opportunities into cack-handed diplomacy.

We can, without America

There seems to be an “in spite of America” development in the Middle East; the Palestinians have negotiated a ceasefire with Israel which seems to be holding. Iraq has renewed diplomatic ties with Syria, and whilst Dubya was busy sulking about being blown out, the President of Iraq was being feted in Iran.

America should have been speaking to these countries for the peace and stability of Iraq, but their myopic sense of hubris has personalized what can only be realized through deliberation and consensus.

In the end, the country that used to be the mediator of grand Middle-Eastern handshakes was left trying to gather the crumbs of diplomacy falling from the table of self-determinant negotiations between neighbouring countries that recognize their need for each other.

So, Condoleezza Rice is on a scurry between Israel and Palestine, giving assurances and offering lame support, those are circumstances that America has with adept created for themselves.

It all comes out – sooner or later

Beyond that, 35 years before, as the India-Pakistan war came to be, some rather unpalatable things (bitch) were said of one of the principals in conversation, that recorded conversation made the light of day in 2005, tensions rose, with anger expressed, profuse apologies after from Henry Kissinger to the heirs of Indira Gandhi and the Indian people.

It did not stop the President of that time – a Richard Nixon from referring to her as an old witch – historians would be at pains not to consider the views of the President and his Secretary of State as policy or the standard with which they had dealings with India despite protestations to the contrary.

Leaks and no plumbers about

As we humans are the poorest students of history as a means of learning to do things better, Mr Nouri al Maliki’s snub came just when a leaked document from the National Security Adviser questioned the ability for the Iraqi leader to handle the mess that America created in the first place.

Obviously, there was the little issue of supporters at home in Iraq not keen on this Iraqi-American summit.

Mr. Stephen Hadley must have thought his advice would be covered by some official secrets diktat such that the dramatis personae would only have learnt of this poor vote of confidence 30 years on.

At the risk of sounding cynical, one can only wonder what they also think of their man in Afghanistan and beneath of the public veneer of great freedom and democracy in Iraq and Afghanistan, the lesser known reality is the bluster is really an attempt to stage a suitable “cut and run”.

For now, it is too late to send any of these American diplomats for a course in Diplomacy 101 – What you never want discovered must never be thought, let alone spoken, if published, you are damned.

Now, taking applications for “How to be nice 001”.

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