Sunday, August 10, 2008

US foreign policy understaffed

In his blog on the New York Times Nicholas D. Kristof points out that the US diplomatic service amploys only about 6500 people and has a 1000 vacancies. He concludes that the US would be better off when it invested more in diplomacy instead of the army. As an extreme example he mentions that until recently US diplomats were not even allowed to talk with Iranians.

But as one of the commentors on the NYT says: with more diplomats you cannot compensate for bad policies; it was not the State Department that got the US in Iraq.


realist said...

"US diplomats were not even allowed to talk with Iranians."

How do you negotiate with someone who wants to exterminate the people of the nation of Israel? Make a compromise and let Iran kill 2 or 3 million Israelis, and call the matter closed?

There is only so much diplomats can do when faced with problems such as Iran's final-solution style antisemitism, Hitler's many invasions, or Serbia's genocidal/unwarranted/illegal occupations of Bosnia, Kosovo, and Croatia during the 1990s.

Wim Roffel said...

What newspapers do you read, realist? The present Iran government supported some congress where holocaust-deniers could voice their opinion. That is not the same as advocating a new holocaust.

Also, the US diplomatic boycott dates from long before the present government in Iran.

realist said...

Do you want any of the numerous quotations from the Iranian president about how the Israelis don't have a right to exist, and must be wiped out? The current Iranian government explicitly advocates a new holocaust.

How do you negotiate with that sort of rabid mad-dog mentality?

As for the "diplomatic boycott", the US had a strong diplomatic relationship with Iran just prior to the present Iranian government. The change happened when the current Iranian regime government decided to trash the embassy and brutalize the diplomats there for 444 days. That is what Iran thinks of diplomacy now.