There have been several attempts at defining this. Webster has it as “the work of maintaining good relations between the governments of different countries”, but that is a lot of nonsense. You don’t need good relations between governments – in fact, good relations can some times hamper diplomacy (ties of sentiment are deadly when dealing with intra-governmental issues). Will Rogers came closer when he said, “diplomacy is the art of saying ‘nice doggy’ until you can find a rock”. But that isn’t quite right, either – because the purpose of diplomacy is to not have to use the rock. But, make no mistake about it, the rock must be part of the equation.
I’ll say that diplomacy is the art of adjusting competing claims between actors of relatively equal power with war as the punishment for diplomatic failure.
It has to be between entities of roughly equal power or it isn’t diplomacy – it is either the stronger imposing its will on the weaker, or the stronger being generous to the weaker for whatever reason. Only between equals can there be diplomacy – two equals (or two groups who are roughly equal) can sit down at the table and try to adjust their differences, all the while with the knowledge that failure to come to agreement means war – and being as it would be a war between roughly equal powers, no one on either side could be entirely sure of the result, and so the incentive is strongly in favor of coming to a deal. Unless, that is, one side is determined upon war no matter what. In such a case, diplomacy also cannot happen – because if one side is determined upon war no matter what and the other side is determined on peace no matter what, then the aggressive side is the stronger and will impose its will on the weaker…and, once again, you don’t have diplomacy. Let’s look at some examples to illustrate my definition:
1. It is said that we negotiated a treaty with Panama in 1903 in order to build the canal. We did nothing of the kind. We told Panama what we wanted and bade them sign on the dotted line or we wouldn’t build the canal, which is the only reason for Panama to exist. This was the stronger imposing its will on the weaker. Not diplomacy.
2. It is said we negotiated a security treaty with Japan in 1951. We did nothing of the kind. Because Japan occupies a strategically vital area in the Asia-Pacific, we promised to protect Japan in return for obtaining certain privileges for our military forces in Japan. It was a good move by us because Japan is a useful ally to have – but the security of the United States does not in any way depend upon the existence of Japan, and its not like a Japanese army would ever arrive in the United States to help defend us against foreign aggression. This was the stronger being generous to the weaker. Not diplomacy.
3. When Chamberlain, Hitler, Daladier and Mussolini gathered in Munich in 1938, three of the four were determined to have peace at any price, one of them was determined upon war no matter what. That it wound up with an agreement rather than war was because of the rather startling amount of surrender that Chamberlain and Daladier agreed to – they eventually decided that Hitler should get the spoils of war without war (keep in mind, that if they hadn’t agreed, Hitler would have gone to war in 1938 rather than waiting until 1939). This was rather unique in human history (to that point, at least) but it still illustrates the point: with one side willing war no matter what and the other willing peace no matter what, the warlike side becomes immediately the stronger and imposes its will upon the weaker. Not diplomacy.
4. When the USSR challenged the United States by putting nuclear missiles in Cuba, both affected parties were roughly equal in power and both sides were equally determined to avoid war. Negotiations were tense and many fears were raised, but the fact of the matter is that as both were equally strong and no one was willing war, a deal was bound to happen unless some horrific accident took place. The basics of the deal eventually agreed to were Russian nukes out of Cuba, American nukes out of Turkey. That is diplomacy.
Now, why bring all this up? Because as we have gone through the Ukraine crisis, no one is understanding that among all the varied things going on, diplomacy isn’t one of them. Diplomacy will never be one of them – it can’t be as there aren’t two equal sides involved her. Oh, to be sure, the power of the United States, alone, is enough to fight and defeat Russia…and the combined power of just Germany and France could probably make short work of Putin’s burgeoning empire. But no one who dislikes Putin’s actions is putting on the table anything like the force necessary to give Putin pause and make him want to turn to diplomacy…which would, once again, be an adjustment of interests between equal powers and war as the price of failure. It is my belief that Putin does not desire war – not with us, not with the European Union, not with anyone. If there were power to match his power, he would climb down and negotiate a diplomatic settlement. Such a settlement would, of course, have to grant Russia some of her desires – that is the thing about diplomacy: it is never a matter of anyone getting all they want. It is a deal between equals and each gives a bit, because they don’t want a war which would be more costly than whatever it is they have to surrender to reach a deal. But with a complete vacuum of power opposite Russia, there is no need for Russia to fear war, and thus no reason to use diplomacy. Might as well grab all you can while the getting is good.
All the huffing and puffing of Obama, Kerry and the collective world won’t do anything. To be sure, Putin might graciously agree to eventually sign something which will be hailed as a diplomatic settlement, but you can rest assured – unless there comes along a credible threat of war against Russia – that whatever settlement is agreed to will be entirely in accordance with Putin’s view of Russia’s interests. In other words, he’ll merely take what he wants at the moment, leave an option to grab what he hasn’t got and attend an international conference to ratify what he’s done. It’ll be a nice meal and pictures taken and his own press back home will laud him (or else!) as the greatest Russian in a century, etc.
Now that I’ve said all that, what do I think we should do? Normally, I would advocate a vigorous American response to this but given our current condition and our current President, I’m saying that surrender isn’t so bad. To be sure, its bad for the people who will come under Putin’s embrace, but I’m not so sure how a half-hearted and incompetently conducted military campaign leading to eventual American failure would help – and, of course, such a thing would actually harm. As under Obama we are bound to have nothing but the aforementioned half-hearted, etc, I figure we just cut to the chase and make the best of a bad situation. We can start to repair this in 2017 – hopefully under leadership which isn’t quite as bad as Obama’s. It is a sad and distressing position for America to be in, but we have no one to blame but ourselves – we might be able to assign our 2008 vote to well-intentioned folly, but our 2012 vote was a gigantic mistake with sufficient facts clearly known. Now we just have to pay the price for it.
“…. we have no one to blame but ourselves ..”
What do you mean, “WE”?
No, I refuse to be a part of this “we”. I was clear from the beginning that those stupid enough to vote for Obama a second time would have to bear the full responsibility for their stupidity. I did not call those who voted for him the first time “stupid”. I thought they were foolish, gullible, ignorant, but not necessarily stupid. The second time around, no other word will do.
And while the rest of us will have to pay for their stupidity, the act is theirs and theirs alone. There is no apportioning of responsibility here.
LOL – I knew I’d get the, “what’s this ‘we’ sh**, white man” comment. I understand – but when I speak of a democratic Republic, I always provide everyone with their aliquot share of responsibility…because, God help us, we are all responsible for that moron!
No, we are NOT “all responsible”. What about those who fought his election from the very beginning, who worked so hard to educate the willfully ignorant, who were called racist and worse for having a coherent political philosophy, and who knew he would be the worst president in American history?
There is no way I will accept any responsibility for this disaster, unless you want to assign an arms-length or longer chain of responsibility that goes back to supporting the Constitutional right of the people to vote for any moron they find charming or who lets them feel good about themselves.
I understand where you’re coming from – but I look in the mirror and say, “my fault”. I should have been better. I should have done more. I should have been more patriotic, more determined, more courageous. If my people fall for an idiot, then it was me who could have prevented that.
Center of the universe much?
Go ahead and assume the weight of the world on your back. This is the kind of group-think, group-guilt thing that got Barry elected in the first place, the vague idea that somehow all the bad things that ever happened to any black Americans are my fault, and furthermore that I can retroactively atone for what was done by other people, in another time.
Nope. I have full responsibility for what I do and think, some responsibility for what I consciously and purposely allow to happen without trying to stop it, and none whatsoever for anything that lies outside my personal range of influence or authority.
That keeps me pretty busy anyway………..
I wouldn’t put it so – I just feel that I could have done more. There certainly must be things that I, as a citizen, could have done which would have made Obama impossible.
Well, you could have invented a time travel machine and gone back to fight for legislation to formally define the Constitutional phrase “natural born citizen”. But that probably wouldn’t have made any difference, because so many have said it really doesn’t matter, just being some words stuck in there by the Founders for some obscure reason no one really cares about any more.
You could have gotten deeply involved in the legal system in Illinois and somehow blocked the revealing of the supposedly sealed child custody records of Obama’s opponent in his Senate race, possibly keeping him from getting into the US Senate.
But really, I not only can’t imagine what a single person could have done to outweigh the force of decades of national educational indoctrination, Leftist propaganda, a Complicit Agenda Media and emotional manipulation of the ignorant that combined to put this empty suit into the White House.
I think the real question, though, is what it is about you that makes you seek out and assume the burden of guilt for something over which you had absolutely no control? I might as well fret about not “doing enough” to stop the wildfires in Colorado a couple of years ago, or the floods of last year. You seem to be taking the “mea culpa” thing a little too far.
Its just the way I look at things as a citizen of a democratic Republic – it comes down to the philosophic understanding that we are collectively responsible for everything our government does in our name…even the nasty, unconstitutional stuff, unless we swiftly set it to rights.
Do you know why women weren’t initially given the power to vote? It wasn’t because men were mean, but because men thought too highly of women to burden them with the moral responsibility of such things as war and executing criminals. As it was thought wrong to have a woman thrust a bayonet in to another man, or hang him from a gallows, so it was thought wrong to have a woman vote on whether bayonets should be thrusted, or men should be hung. Being a citizen is an awesome responsibility – when one of our soldiers on the battlefield fires at an enemy, it is in a sense all of us pulling the trigger, even the people who opposed the war.
To be sure, Obama will have to account for his own, illegal actions. His corruption and cruelty. Before the judgement seat of God, I won’t even be asked about them. But I will be asked about what I did, as a citizen, to try and make things better. In this, I have failed – and the proof of my failure is that someone like Obama could become President of the nation my fathers fought and bled for. Obama isn’t fit to tie my grandfather’s shoe, and he’s yet he’s President! That needs to be corrected – but the first step in any program of reform is to admit where one went wrong.
“Its just the way I look at things as a citizen of a democratic Republic – it comes down to the philosophic understanding that we are collectively responsible for everything our government does in our name”
This smacks of the same collective redemption thing I find so offensive in religion.
If people stand by and passively allow our government to do things that are wrong, we become part of the wrongdoing. But if we struggle to stop it, if we use every means at our command, if we never condone it or participate in it or do a single thing to contribute to it, then we are not complicit and share none of the guilt.
This is why I have such scorn and contempt for those who actively participated in the reelection of Barack Obama. While some voted for him out of ideological zeal, most did not, but merely went along with the mindless emotional current stirred up by the Left. They had a responsibility to think clearly, and they chose to feel. This is on them.
Equally, the so-called “evangelicals” who handed the presidency back to Obama out of a fit of pique are just as responsible as every person who actually voted for him. There are no words for the contempt I feel for them. If you want to hand out collective guilt, this is where you should go. They were in a snit and they sacrificed the well-being of their country to make sure we all knew just how pissy they were. And now we know just how petty and spiteful and narrow-minded they are, how little they actually care about this country, and I hope none of us forgets this lesson.
Those of us who campaigned against Obama and what he represents, those of us who did everything possible to change the direction he and his movement are taking the country, are not part of this and no one should claim we are. You can be a martyr and shoulder the blame for what others have done. I think it is foolish.
You might as well feel responsible for Timothy McVeigh or slavery or the internment of Japanese citizens or ………………………
Oh, to be sure, there are other actors far more responsible for the state of affairs than I am – some are guilty of actual wrong doing, after all. But you are correct that this is based upon theology. At Mass, we often say a certain prayer that goes in part:
Not doing something is, at times, just as bad as doing something. Did I do everything I could to protect this nation – which back in 1983 I swore a holy oath to defend? I don’t think so. And, so: my fault.
But setting that aside, and getting on to the subject of the thread – we need to have a major re-thinking of American foreign policy. It can be neither isolationist nor interventionist but a careful balance which weighs are strict national needs as well as applies our national ideals. What we’ve had since Wilson launched us into World War One has been a mish-mash of being over idealistic or being overly cruel and cynical. We’re reaping what we’ve sewn – not in the idiot, leftist sense, but in the simple sense that we have (and have had) the power to remake the world, but have not exercised it properly.
So what could you have done, as one man, that would have changed what we have to go through now?
The Butterfly Effect is an intriguing concept, but it deals with eons. As one man, in 1983, just what could you, or should you, have done that you truly think would have altered the direction of the nation, and/or the ability of the Left to take over our educational system, our media, and eventually our government? Do you think you might have led a movement so powerful and so effective it could have changed history? Do you think your personal influence or efforts would have shifted the course of events so dramatically that the entire nation would have been less vulnerable to the demagoguery of the skillful and experienced Left?
If someone like William F. Buckley, with his brilliance and his money and his influence, was not able to change the direction of the country, it does seem to me to be a bit egotistical to think that if only YOU had done more, it would have been different.
You apparently carry with you some residual guilt for some personal failing, or perceived failing, that haunts you to this day. I think perhaps your concept of personal responsibility is flawed, as is your concept of ongoing collective guilt.
My understanding of Catholic doctrine is summed up in the instruction of the priest at the end of confession—“Go and sin no more”. I don’t remember anything about clinging to guilt over past transgressions and beating yourself up about them indefinitely. My understanding is that you screw up, you realize you screwed up, you repent, you make atonement as much as you are able, you try to learn from your mistake, you try to avoid repeating it, and you move on.
And I most definitely do not remember anything about collective guilt or collective redemption. I don’t remember anything that says that my own shortcomings extend to others, so if I didn’t do enough and I feel responsible for the outcome, I get to slap that sense of having failed onto other people as well.
Let me change the emphasis in your prayer: “I confess to Almighty God and to you my brothers and sisters, that I have greatly sinned, in my thoughts and in my words, in what I have done and what I have failed to do…” to the letter “I”—that is, first person singular. So confess what you seem to think was your sin, learn from it, resolve to do better, atone if you must or if you can, and move on. But please do not try to spread your personal sense of guilt or responsibility to others, because I flat-out absolutely reject any such effort to drag me into it.
While I was an unexamined liberal until the mid-90s, I also do not think I did anything that materially affected the course of political events in this country, and for damned sure since I saw the light I have done everything in my power to fight, obstruct and deny the encroachment of Leftist ideology into this country. I don’t think an unrealistic view of my impact on the nation, either in the past or now, is helpful. And I don’t think it is for you, either.
I simply could have done more; that is simply the case. I propose to do more. That will leave me less time for folly, and that’s a good thing.
“Equally, the so-called “evangelicals” who handed the presidency back to Obama out of a fit of pique are just as responsible as every person who actually voted for him. There are no words for the contempt I feel for them.”
And this has been disproven time after time after time. The evangelical voters turned out in higher numbers for Mitt than they did McCain. It is your hatred that is blinding you and why this little slice of internet heaven is almost completely dead.
Just to start you off here is wiki’s voter demographics for 2012. These demographics can be verified using other sources.
If you want someone to blame that bad, blame the katolischers who voted 50% for the kenyan occupying the White House.
Contempt? You have earned more than enough.
Good Day to you madam.
GMB, thank you so much for reminding us that you simply cannot pass up a chance to be nasty. You could have simply introduced new information into the blog, for which I would have thanked you. I do admit when I am wrong. But no——that is not your style. Nor, it seems, is providing relevant information. For example, you say “The evangelical voters turned out in higher numbers for Mitt than they did McCain…” (And thank you for not indulging in your coy “Mittens” snarl.) So what, exactly does that mean? Are you claiming that because more voted for Romney than voted for McCain, this disproves the information that millions did not vote at all? A group can have members cast more votes for one candidate than for another and still have many of the group not voting at all. Knowing this, understanding this, is not exactly the definition of “hate”. What’s the matter—–you couldn’t figure out how to use my comment to call me a racist?
We have been enjoying a format in which people can and do disagree with each other, but do so in a respectful manner. This does not seem to appeal to you.
We have discussed the Catholic Church’s slide to the Left. You don’t seem interested in a discussion on this, just a little snarling and spitting. By the way, in this country we call them Catholics, and we have the courtesy to capitalize the word.
Just curious—-when you posture, as you do love to do, as a courtly and courteous gentleman (usually right after you prove yourself to be the opposite) with your strangely archaic language, are we supposed to imagine you sweeping a feathered tricorn from your head and dropping into a low bow, as you murmur ever so unctuously “…good day to you madam…”? Or can we just accept the sneer that is so obvious? Is the adoption of language which is usually used to indicate courtesy and manners supposed to cover up your lack of both?
I am probably going to regret this; how is he not a natural born citizen? Born to an American woman in America.
j6206, first you need to get past the assumption that I said Obama is not a natural born citizen. I said no such thing.
Then you might try to understand the idea that being a native born citizen is not the same as being a natural born citizen. This has been covered in more detail than any other topic on this blog. There is abundant research material available to those who actually care about facts instead of snapping to a knee-jerk reaction based on emotion.
But it’s not just you. Even some Supreme Court rulings have interchanged the two terms. This is not, however, an actual ruling on the definition of the term.
I consider Barack Obama the president of the United States, God help us, and that cannot be retroactively changed. So get over any paranoid concern that this is about him.
This is my position on the subject:
1. It is important. It is part of the Constitution, it is a Constitutional requirement for eligibility for the office of President of the United States, and therefore must be taken seriously.
2. Failure to take this seriously, and get the issue resolved before dragging the country into a mess which can be used, as it was in 2008 and 2012, to further create divisiveness and conflict in the nation, is reckless and irresponsible.
3. Conservatives have three people we can think of right now, at this time, who would be excellent choices for the presidency, who may not qualify as natural born citizens because they were born into families in which the fathers were not citizens.
4. Therefore, as responsible Americans we have the duty to determine, legally and definitively, what is the definition of the term natural born citizen, before embarking on yet another campaign season with this vital issue remaining undetermined
While the reckless actions of the American Left in their determination to make Barack Obama President brought this question to the attention of many Americans, he is now irrelevant. What is done is done, regarding that particular act. This is not about him. It was about the American Left and its disdain for the rule of law, but it was not about him as a person, and it is not about him now. Get over it.
I personally don’t care which way a ruling might go. One one hand I would hate to see people like Rubio, Cruz and Jindal removed from consideration for the presidency, but on the other hand I would accept a legal ruling, if it were to come from an appropriate authority, which happened to determine that natural born and native born are the same thing. I might not accept that this was the intent of the Founders, but given the fact that they used a term so common in their time they did see the need to define it themselves I would accept that the country today has the freedom to define it in terms of our time.
My question is, what is the appropriate authority? Congress? The Supreme Court? How would the matter be presented to this authority? Would it have to come from those most personally affected—–Cruz, Rubio, and/or Jindal—–or would the American people in general be considered to have standing?
This is not a partisan issue, or at least it should not be. Now that your guy is president, and our guys are not yet running, this is the time to get it settled. Please do not try to clutter it up with a lot of shrill reactionary howling about Obama.
This might be a good thread to start on.
Enjoy–make sure you read all of the comments as well.
On this one I am standing that I am personally not responsible for this Disaster-in-Chief. Being a Representative Republic I have done all I could to kept this political malady from occurring. He is our President and I have the highest respect for the office; however, President Obama, to me, is nothing more than skid mark on America’s drawers. I feel the same about several others including Nixon, Kennedy and Carter, et. al. but for different reasons.
He is pretty bad, indeed. But I think I’d be asking everyone to take it in the sense of “what can I now do to repair what has been done, and prevent its repetition?”
I agree, I am now energized to do more. I think I have more impact at the state level, both in statehouse campaigns and our Senate and Representative campaigns, so that is where I am concentrating my efforts for now. Colorado is teetering on the edge of returning to being a red state. We have two absolutely terrible Senators, one of whom is up for reeelection this year and is considered quite vulnerable. We have a Dem governor who is a mess. He didn’t even run on any kind of a platform, just on being cute and lovable—he actually did a TV spot where he wore a very small straw cowboy hat and rode a grocery store plastic horse. He’s been totally in the pocket of the Left and took his marching orders on Colorado’s recent gun control efforts from Mayor Bloomberg, who was in constant communication with him and dumped millions into the effort to subvert our 2nd Amendment rights. He is weak, especially if we have a strong candidate.
I agree with what you say but I do have one question in regard to your opinion about America backing out of the situation. If we were to pull out, especially after all the blabbering of our President, don’t you think this would convey to Mr. Putin that he can continue in the path he’s set out on? I think this might congratulate and reward him for his efforts thus far. Also, if we were to back out, where is the point at which Putin says, “Okay, I’m satisfied now! I’ll stop here.” John C. Calhoun stated: “If we concede an inch, concession would follow concession – compromise would follow compromise, until…effectual resistance would be impossible.” Maybe we should have stayed out of it from the start, but since we are in it, allowing Putin to proceed now would allow him to proceed as far as he wishes. I’d like to hear your thoughts on this idea.
We long ago relinquished our ability to negotiate from a position of strength, and the current administration, as well as the congressional leadership of both parties has no stomach to play hardball with Putin. I’m guessing he will do whatever he wants, with at best, only token opposition by us and the rest of the world. And quite frankly, there are a number of individuals on the American Left who will secretly applaud such a result. Mitt Romney, while being resoundingly ridiculed by the Left and the media (sorry for the redundancy) about his comment during the presidential debate that he considered Russia as our greatest geo-political adversary, was, in fact, right on the money.
Audra, I am with Spook on this. It’s not as if we have much of a choice here. The die are cast, we are saddled with a blatantly and publicly impotent figurehead pretending to be a leader, his ineptness and lack of backbone are so well known by the world that there is no use pretending otherwise, and there is nothing we can do now to change any of that.
Yes, Putin is empowered. He has to be thanking whatever passes for his god that we reelected this empty suit, Barack Obama. As a matter of fact, it is very likely that Putin, through the International Left and its infiltration into and control of the American Left, was to a great extent responsible for putting Obama in the White House in the first place.
It’s been a chess game, played out over decades, setting up the United States to be a shell of its former glory and strength, something that was necessary to set the stage for the rebuilding of the USSR. While the average muddle-headed emotion-driven Dem man on the street, voting for Obama so he could pat himself on the back for not being a racist or voting for him to act out his confused rage and hatred of what he mistakenly thinks is the American Right, has no real ideology and certainly no goal of reinstating the glory that was the USSR (in the mind of the ardent Leftist) this has certainly been the agenda of the true Leftist ideologue.
Fidel is on his last legs and no longer the sex symbol that still has Baba Wawa’s knees all a-tingle, Che is dead, Hugo is a sweaty pig with no charisma, only a Rodman could find anything good to say about North Korea, no one can openly celebrate Hitler or even Mussolini, but Russia….??? Wow, that was always the wet dream of the starry-eyed Lefty.
And now that Left is poised to conquer nations bordering Russia, and who knows how far beyond that they will go? Few if any of those Lefties will remember Hitler marching into his neighbors and annexing them to Germany, and if they are reminded, we will just be scolded that we are TRAPPED IN HISTORY !!!!!!!!!! Learn anything from that? Like what????
There is not a damned thing we can do on the international front, because we are stuck with Barry and the Boyz for another three years or so. All we can do is try to keep them from disemboweling the United States any more than they already have, get a real American in the White House (and no, screechers ready to pounce on that, I don’t mean “real American” regarding birth place, but regarding ideology) and hope it is not too late to put the country back together again. When we do, we will be back where we were before, in another Cold War (if we are lucky enough to have it be Cold) with a menacing behemoth to the east.
This, by the way, would be described by some of our previous posters as Progress……
Its a bad hand we’re playing no matter how you slice it – even an effective American leader would have a hard time threading this needle…though, of course, with an effective American leader, we might not have come to this state of affairs. The only thing which will make Putin stop, now, is a credible threat of force – are we willing to do that? I’m not – mostly because Obama is President and I’m confident he’d make a hash out of it. Of course, we might be forced against our will – if Putin decides to move on Estonia (which has a slice of territory just adjacent to Russia which is massively Russian-majority in population), then we’ll be put to it: Estonia is a NATO ally we are committed to go to war to defend. Putin knows this and such a move would be a roll of the dice…but our serial weakness over the past 5 years might put him in the frame of mind that he just might get away with it…that we might sell out Estonia when push comes to shove as the Brits and French sold out the Czechs in 1938. And we might – and it might be the least bad course of action, because while we’d win a war with Russia, it would be a disaster in the larger geo-strategic sense…any US-Russian war would only benefit China.