The Art Of Diplomacy

Sgt. Stryker, who has returned
to the blogosphere (and we’re all damn glad he did) has a good rants that
debunks the
whole "rope-a-dope" theory
. This theory holds that the Bush
Administration’s seeming flip-flops on the Bush Doctrine are part of a great
master plan on the war on terror. I’m with the Sarge – the Bush Administration is
trying to play it safe and have another Desert Storm-style coalition in place for
Iraq II. That means playing nice with Arafat, at least on paper. Unfortunately, it
seems to be the case that whenever the Bush Administration tries to play nice it
doesn’t work well. The Bush team works best when it’s working to secure US
interests, not when it’s playing diplomat.

Unfortunately, they have to play the diplomacy card to get things done.
We need allies in the Middle East for refueling rights, use of air bases, and other
elements of an Iraqi campaign. That means we can’t piss off the Saudis too
badly – at least not yet. Nor can we give the Israelis carte blanche to turn
Arafat into a fine red mist, even if that’s something that wouldn’t be a bad
thing for the region. Hence we need to learn the fine art of compromise, at least
until someone sane is in power in Baghdad.

So, does all of this mean that Bush has gone soft on terror? Well, the
answer is no. Yes, we have to curb our tongues for a while, but the Saudis will
get their due, sooner or later. So too will the other despotic regimes in the
region. This is a game of patience as much as military strength. I believe
that this quotation expresses the attitude of the Bush Administration the best:

Diplomacy is the art of saying "nice doggie" – until
you can find a rock.

Just wait until October when we have a full arsenal of munitions ready
for the Iraqi campaign. Once Iraq is out of our way and under better
managemenent, then we’ll have a nice rock to use to start bashing
some sense into some of the less progressive Middle Eastern regimes.