October 23, 2006

Diplomacy for Dummies

Filed under: Politics — Chris @ 2:51 pm

Matthew Yglesias on diplomacy:

Here’s a trick we haven’t tried vis-a-vis North Korea and Iran — seriously offering to do things Pyongyand and/or Teheran would like us to do in exchange for them doing what we want them to do in terms of not building nuclear weapons. Similarly with regard to Russia and China. As I’ve been pointing out, we’ve been doing “everything” to get Russia and China on board with our North Korea policy except, well, setting priorities, making compromises, cutting deals and, um, conducting diplomacy. We want Moscow and Beijing to do such-and-such. Well, what do they want from Washington? Diplomacy means finding out what they want and then, if the price is worth paying, paying it.

Isn’t it odd that a group of people who profess to believe that free markets are a magical elixir—second only to tax cuts—that can solve any problem facing the world (e.g., health care, Social Security, energy independence, and global warming, just to name a few) think that diplomacy should be conducted by invoking abstract ideals and threats of force and not by old-fashioned horse trading? I mean, we’ve got homo economicus choosing glaucoma treatments, but Russia’s going to double-cross a major trading partner to do us a favor?


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