Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Is a Puzzlement: Does Diplomacy Have a Chance Against 2009's Quadruple Threat?

New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman wonders if U.S. diplomacy has a fighting chance against 2009's quartet of major international problems: Afghanistan, Pakistan, North Korea and Iran.

Noting that "A secretary of state can broker deals only when other states or parties are ready or able to make them," Friedman thinks the leaders of two of the first two states are too weak to deliver and the leaders of the second two are too invested in domestic hostility against the West to want to.

As Friedman sees it, "The only thing that could change this is a greater exercise of U.S. and allied power"--for Afghanistan and Pakistan, enough money and power to rebuild "from the inside into modern nations;" for North Korea and Iran, enough "effective leverage from the outside to get them to change their behavior along the lines we seek."

Unfortunately, he says, "I fear that we are adopting a middle-ground strategy--doing just enough to avoid collapse but not enough to solve the problems.

"Given all that is on his plate, you cannot blame Obama for looking for a middle ground. But history teaches that the middle ground can be a perilous place."

No comments: