Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Condi isn't Dean Acheson













And it's not the moustache....

Very interesting "realist" critique by diplomatic historian Walter LaFeber (thanks to C.F.) of The Flawed Rice Doctrine of ‘Transformational Diplomacy’ and American Global Policy. Here are some highlights:

In her January 18, 2006 speech at Georgetown University, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice attracted attention by arguing that U.S. foreign policy would henceforth be shaped by a “transformational diplomacy . . . rooted in partnership, not paternalism.” Her address was taken by some observers to mean that the neoconservative policy assumptions which have condemned the United States to the tragedy in Iraq and elsewhere were being replaced by a realist perspective taking American policy back to the more constructive days of the partnerships George Marshall and Dean Acheson (whom she singled out for praise in her question-and-answer session), formed with Western Europe and Japan. These partnerships aimed to institutionalize both the rebuilding of those war-devastated partners and the containment of the Soviet Union.
A closer reading of her speech leads to another conclusion: the address is mostly old, failed policy dressed in necessarily different rhetoric. Most significantly, Rice began the speech not by emphasizing partnership, but with George W. Bush’s Second Inaugural Address from which she quoted that it is U.S. policy “to seek and support the growth of democratic movements and institutions in every nation and culture with the ultimate goal of ending tyranny in our world.” This “mission,” Rice added, is “transformational diplomacy,” and nowhere does she say this diplomacy came out of any partnership – which is well, because it didn’t.
Nor could it. Only a person ignorant of human history could seriously discuss “ending tyranny in our world.” Rice’s putative hero, Dean Acheson, told a group of military and diplomatic officers in 1949 that the idea that good and evil could not coexist in the world was the height of absurdity. Good and evil, Acheson noted in his own inimitable fashion, had coexisted ever since Adam and Eve left the Garden of Eden, and given the historical record (and, one might add, nuclear weapons) , such coexistence, this Cold Warrior believed, had to continue. The partners Rice has in mind tend to see the world through Acheson’s eyes, not the President’s or, apparently, her own.. Given Acheson and the partners’ long historical view and insights into human nature, they did not, and do not, believe that “tyranny” can be eradicated everywhere; it is rooted in a human nature that cannot be changed, only contained. Bush and Rice’s religious views, and the President’s faith in American military power, may lead them to believe human nature can be universally cleansed to suit their idealism, but all of recorded history is on the side of Acheson and the partners.
(Read the rest...).
And while we are discussing America's chief diplomat's performance, this item from Asia Times about Seoul and Washington closer to divorce is quite amazing (again, thanks C.F.). Among other things it reports that:
South Korea and the US have drifted so far apart on North Korea policy there is now speculation the longtime partners are getting close to divorce. Kurt Campbell, former US deputy assistant secretary of defense for Asia and the Pacific, reportedly likened the two to a king and queen who live separately but pretend to be happy before theirsubjects. The allies do not want to announce their divorce because it would have enormous consequences, he said at a seminar in Washington on February 27....
It is believed US officials no longer trust their South Korean counterparts on North Korea policy. Fueling that speculation has been the recent friction between Seoul and Washington over how to deal with US allegations North Korea is counterfeiting US dollars. While Washington has stepped up financial pressure on Pyongyang in an effort to defend the US currency, Seoul appears to have opposed such a move....
Meanwhile, the number of South Korean officials voicing concern over US financial pressure is increasing. If US sanctions designed to contain North Korea economically work, there is a strong possibility of a severe diplomatic conflict between South Korea and the United States. Such a diplomatic split could be a death blow to the half-century-long alliance, diplomatic sources say....
Speculation that the alliance is in trouble is also precipitated by Seoul's three-year objection to Washington's policy aimed at enabling US Forces Korea (USFK) to be moved about freely beyond the Korean Peninsula...With the South Korea-US alliance rapidly deteriorating, USFK is having difficulty securing training fields across the nation....

Iraq, Iran, North (and South) Korea, Russia, China, Palestine...What else could go wrong with these guys?

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