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Buffalo Tom Buffalo Tom is offline
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Old Mar 19th, 2003, 12:15 PM        C Students Rush to War
A Lesson in Diplomacy
by Juliet Johnson

Back in the late 1980s, Condoleezza Rice--then just a lowly associate professor--taught one of the best courses I took as a Stanford undergraduate. Although she called it "The Role of the Military in Politics," the most memorable class sessions involved a lengthy crisis simulation exercise designed to teach the fine art of avoiding war. She split the large class into several independent groups, with each group subdivided into key Washington foreign policy roles. My group had a President, a Vice President, a National Security Adviser, a Defense Secretary, a CIA Director, Joint Chiefs and several members of Congress. I was the Secretary of State. Our mission: to resolve an emerging international crisis peacefully if possible, by force if necessary. Sound familiar?

Professor Rice's simulation presciently challenged us to contain an impending civil war in Yugoslavia that, if inflamed, threatened to spill over into neighboring countries. All of the groups tried to achieve the same outcome--a peaceful resolution of the conflict--but few succeeded. Rather, a group's result depended on the strategies it used to pursue the goal. As we navigated the treacherous waters of (simulated) international diplomacy, our group learned three valuable lessons that Professor Rice's current colleagues in the Bush Administration seem to be neglecting.

Rhetoric matters: During the simulation, I sent an unintentionally condescending message to the Greek government. Only by apologizing immediately and profusely did I manage to salvage our diplomatic mission. If even accidental slights have unfortunate consequences, how much harm can come from intentionally inflammatory rhetoric? When George W. Bush used the word "crusade" to describe US antiterrorism efforts, it unwittingly evoked images of Christian warriors marching to rescue the Holy Land from Islamic infidels. Yet rather than retreating from this rhetorical stance, Bush has fanned the flames by describing the current conflict with Iraq in biblical terms, repeatedly invoking the Christian God and calling Iraq an agent of evil. If Bush actually wants to fuel a "clash of civilizations," this is a good way to start. As then-candidate Bush himself said in the second presidential debate, "if we're an arrogant nation, [other countries] will view us that way, but if we're a humble nation, they'll respect us." Which brings us to lesson number two...

Seek international support: In our simulation, the most successful groups immediately reached out to allies and to international organizations in order to build a consensus on how to resolve the crisis. Similarly, candidate Bush acknowledged the need for multilateral cooperation on Iraq during that same second presidential debate, stating that "[Saddam Hussein] is a danger, and...it's going to be important to rebuild that coalition to keep the pressure on him." Yet as President, Bush has taken an "it's my way or the highway" approach. The Administration made it clear from the beginning that US policy on Iraq would not be influenced by its European allies or the United Nations, and has accused doubting foreign leaders of cowardice. Bush's March 17 ultimatum conclusively signaled the failure of diplomacy. This is coercion, not consultation. But perhaps even more important in coalition-building is lesson number three...

Maintain credibility: Not surprisingly, the groups in our class simulation that made the clearest and most credible arguments in defense of their policies typically gained the most support for them. As Bush noted in, yes, that second presidential debate, "I think credibility is going to be very important in the future in the Middle East." Yet the Administration has not convincingly explained to the international community why it thinks Saddam Hussein represents a uniquely immediate threat.

In particular, two avowed US motives for insisting upon regime change undermine the Administration's credibility: Iraq's alleged Al Qaeda connection and its human rights violations. The evidence tying Saddam Hussein to Al Qaeda is embarrassingly flimsy. Osama bin Laden has publicly expressed contempt for the secular Hussein, and several other countries--most notably Saudi Arabia, a close US ally--have much tighter Al Qaeda connections. As a result, many suspect that Bush is merely using the September 11 tragedy to justify his long-held desire to oust Hussein.

The Bush Administration's alleged concern for human rights violations in Iraq is equally unconvincing. The Taliban in Afghanistan had a reprehensible human rights record for years, but this did not become an important issue for the Administration until after September 11. Liberia, Burma, Turkmenistan and many other authoritarian states repress their people in appalling ways, but US troops are not massed at their borders. Such weak arguments for singling out Iraq breed cynicism and confusion in the international community and encourage speculation that less honorable motives are driving US foreign policy. The Administration is on the brink of war without having made a good case for removing Saddam Hussein from power.

(Our group also learned a fourth lesson--Congress can be safely ignored. The students playing members of Congress in the simulation had a frustrating week, as the rest of us made all of the important decisions. However, the Bush Administration understands this lesson.)

In short, Rice's class taught us that C students rush to war, while A students work diligently and patiently toward peaceful solutions to international problems. When the Iraqi crisis has ended, what grade will the current Administration have earned?



The orignal article is at www.thenation.com
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Protoclown Protoclown is offline
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Old Mar 19th, 2003, 12:38 PM        Re: C Students Rush to War
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Originally Posted by Buffalo Tom
When the Iraqi crisis has ended, what grade will the current Administration have earned?
F+
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Old Mar 19th, 2003, 12:43 PM       
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In short, Rice's class taught us that C students rush to war, while A students work diligently and patiently toward peaceful solutions to international problems.
12 years is rushing? Also, there is a small difference between a sanitized college classroom and the very dirty real world. Dr. Rice was teaching a basic lesson.
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Old Mar 19th, 2003, 12:51 PM       
Too bad Bush is too much of a dumbfuck to understand basic lessons.
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Old Mar 19th, 2003, 01:43 PM       
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12 years is rushing? Also, there is a small difference between a sanitized college classroom and the very dirty real world. Dr. Rice was teaching a basic lesson.
Did you even read the whole article? Dubya is contradicting what he said would be his approach to foreign policy when he was a candidate.

The 'very dirty real world' has taught that multi-lateral action is only way to effectively resolve geopolitical issues (the Gulf War Coalition being the prime example of that). You may argue that Dubya went the whole mile to try to build international consensus on this issue. However, do you honestly believe his 'you're either with us or against us' proclamations, his couching of the coming conflict in Biblical black-and-white issues, his being arrogant bullying towards some of your closest allies and his presentation of intelligence reports, which at best were ambiguous and at worst were fraudulent, are the best ways to get the people of the world on your side?
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The_Rorschach The_Rorschach is offline
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Old Mar 19th, 2003, 03:24 PM       
BT: Did you even read the whole article? Dubya is contradicting what he said would be his approach to foreign policy when he was a candidate.

Those are campaign promises. All candidates make them, and for the last thirty years, all candidates have broken them. It's what happens when dreams are applied to reality. They break down, and ultimately fail.


BT: The 'very dirty real world' has taught that multi-lateral action is only way to effectively resolve geopolitical issues (the Gulf War Coalition being the prime example of that).

I disagree. Multilateral decisions have an even track record of failing as often as succeeding. Bosnia was multilateral. Do we consider that a success even with the fall of Srebrenica (not a typo) the UN has failed in its reformation tactics. East Timor was yet another UN failure, sure after the proclaimation of independence in East Timor the three-year period of United Nations transitional administration was a great success, but East Timorese people were never given the chance to decide whether they wanted to have their lives determined by this cabal of Western pro-corporate financial administrators. Economically they have suffered because of UN interference. The UN admitted it failed in Rwanda, having had the knowledge and wherewithall to prevent the genocide slaughter five years before they actually became involved. Without even touching Iraq or Pakistan, ample evidence of multilateral action ineptitude is easily vouched for.


TB: You may argue that Dubya went the whole mile to try to build international consensus on this issue. However, do you honestly believe his 'you're either with us or against us' proclamations, his couching of the coming conflict in Biblical black-and-white issues, his being arrogant bullying towards some of your closest allies and his presentation of intelligence reports, which at best were ambiguous and at worst were fraudulent, are the best ways to get the people of the world on your side?

We don't NEED people on our side. War isn't about popularity. Britain was more than willing to sacrifice Austria to Hitler in the name of peace, and Chamberlain had world support when he did so. The world at large desires peace at any cost, the price of which is paid most generally with the lives of noncombatants. Some leaders need to be disposed, some wars need to be fought. Though I disagree with Bush's reasoning, Hussein's actions against the Kurds to the north are enough to warrant a death sentence in and of themselves.
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Old Mar 19th, 2003, 04:01 PM       
If I remember correctly, it was actually Colin Powell who convinced Dubya to try and get a UN permission slip before diving into the action.
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Old Mar 19th, 2003, 04:51 PM       
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East Timor was yet another UN failure, sure after the proclaimation of independence in East Timor the three-year period of United Nations transitional administration was a great success, but East Timorese people were never given the chance to decide whether they wanted to have their lives determined by this cabal of Western pro-corporate financial administrators. Economically they have suffered because of UN interference.
I strongly disagree with you. They people of East Timor have suffered because the Western powers and Western companies who did business under Suharto's brutal regime, and who continue to do business there today, are only interested in pillaging the region for its rich natural resources. No one in the boardrooms and the capitals of the West has ever been interested in the plight of the East Timorese. The failure of the efforts of the UN was not due to the fact that it was a body built on multilateral action. It failed for other reasons, notably the fact that the IMF and the World Bank were working for the economic interests other than the welfare of the East Timorese. In fact, multilateralism worked well in this situation, given that the 'cabal of Western pro-corporate financial administrators' orchestrated the continued exploitation of East Timor, and completely locked the people out of the decision process of how their resources should managed.
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Old Mar 19th, 2003, 06:32 PM       
Quote:
Did you even read the whole article? Dubya is contradicting what he said would be his approach to foreign policy when he was a candidate.
Did you notice anything significant happen in the last 3 years to maybe change our outlook on foriegn relations?



Quote:


The 'very dirty real world' has taught that multi-lateral action is only way to effectively resolve geopolitical issues (the Gulf War Coalition being the prime example of that).
Rorshac alreadfy pointed out one example of coalition failure, how about another? Somalia.

At first, we only protected the food supplies and didn't touch the civil war. Then, when our forces were put under UN command, we start hunting warlords...no wait, one warlord who happened to be a political rival of Bhutros Bhutros-Gali. What was the outcome?

How is Sierra Leonne doing? Or Rawanda?



Quote:
You may argue that Dubya went the whole mile to try to build international consensus on this issue. However, do you honestly believe his 'you're either with us or against us' proclamations, his couching of the coming conflict in Biblical black-and-white issues,
did you know if you harbor fugitives or give them aid or just sit back and watch them commit a crime without alerting the authorities you are commiting a crime? Thats what "with us or against us" means.

You complain about unilateralism, but you don't expect the rest of the world to anti up?

Maybe we can take a lesson from France and order lesser countries not to support us or they won't be allowe din our club.
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Old Mar 21st, 2003, 12:02 AM       
Wow, someone from the Nation doesnt like Bush! *suprise*

When this whole Iraq situation is done and Bush and Co were proven right, Ill love to see what the liberals say. Of course, we culd have had Gorebot in there and then been in a shitload of trouble.

And if this fucks up the US, then I can admit I trusted the wrong policies and people. Unlike liberals, who like to ignore when their people fuck up royaly.
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Cap'n Crunch Cap'n Crunch is offline
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Old Mar 21st, 2003, 05:34 PM       
I didn't read the whole thing. What the hell is it for anyway?
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Old Mar 21st, 2003, 05:35 PM       
for telling you to shut the fuck up.


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