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RE: Friedman: Full diplomatic relations in return for intrusive inspections

This sounds to me like a position acceptable to Israel, whose
concern is Iraq's military threat to itself.

Philippa Winkler

>===== Original Message From "Hamre, Drew" <> =====
>Thomas Friedman of the NYTimes, America's most influential foreign policy
>commentator, today throws a radical proposal onto the table:
>"... Let's offer Iraq full diplomatic relations with the U.S. in return for
>full intrusive U.S. inspections of Iraq's weapons facilities.  The real
>issue is weapons inspections, and it has gotten totally and dangerously
>This can be parsed six ways from Sunday (do the 'relations' come with
>sanctions, or without?), but in essence this appears to stress safety
>through engagement, not embargo.  Is it my imagination, or isn't this
>strikingly similar to the position pushed by Scott Ritter and others for the
>last two years?
>Note that Friedman is still spinning the consequences of sanctions as a PR
>disaster ... with no acknowledgement (yet) of their humanitarian or moral
>cost.  And from the safety of his keyboard, he remains a stalwart
>interventionist.  But still, beneath the din of sabre-rattling, there may be
>encouraging movement ...
>Drew Hamre
>Golden Valley, MN USA
>The New York Times
>July 10, 2001
>Policy by Obituary
>Let's do a quick test. I'll mention a name and you tell me what comes to
>mind. Ready? Secretary of State Colin Powell . . . Quick - what comes to
>mind? Well, actually nothing.
>Now the fact that Mr. Powell's tenure so far doesn't conjure up anything
>doesn't make him a failure as secretary of state. It's way, way too early
>for such judgments. Sometimes the best policies involve doing nothing,
>because there's nothing to be done. But there are two basic ways to do
>nothing. One is to rely on biology, the other is to rely on creative
>diplomacy, and for now the Bush foreign policy is more biology than
>A biological foreign policy means that you have run out of ideas or
>political room to maneuver for how to deal with a certain foreign leader, so
>your whole approach is waiting for that leader to die. Biology!
>The most obvious case of biology in U.S. foreign policy today is Cuba, where
>nine U.S. presidents have been boycotting the country and waiting for Fidel
>Castro to die. But the fact is, the Bush foreign policy is also to wait for
>Saddam Hussein, Yasir Arafat and Kim Jong Il, the leader of North Korea, to
>die and be replaced by more pragmatic figures.
>One problem with a biological foreign policy is that bad guys can live long:
>Mr. Castro is said to have given up smoking cigars and is eating yogurt; Mr.
>Arafat takes regular naps and puts only honey on his cereal. Another problem
>with biology as foreign policy is that it enables these leaders to divert
>attention easily from their actions to ours. So the U.S. is blamed for
>starvation in Iraq, lack of development in Cuba or the breakdown of
>Israeli-Palestinian peace.
>If the Bush team prefers to do nothing in certain places, let's at least do
>nothing creatively, so the pressures are on the rogues, not us.
>On Iraq, let's stop messing around with "smart sanctions" designed to let
>more goods into Iraq while weeding out military items. The states
>surrounding Iraq that would have to impose such smart sanctions have no
>economic incentive to do so. And the Arab world wouldn't give America any
>more credit for smart sanctions than dumb ones. It's a half-measure. If
>we're not going to go to war against Saddam, let's at least put a serious
>offer on the table that puts all the focus on him: let's offer Iraq full
>diplomatic relations with the U.S. in return for full intrusive U.S.
>inspections of Iraq's weapons facilities.
>The real issue is weapons inspections, and it has gotten totally and
>dangerously lost. If we are just going to wait for Saddam to die, let's at
>least create a context in which all the world sees that it is his insistence
>on developing and hoarding weapons of mass destruction that is the problem.
>On the Arab-Israel front, a great power like the U.S. does not belong
>arranging cease-fires. This has allowed Mr. Arafat to turn everyone's
>attention away from the fact that he rejected a peace plan put forward by
>the Clintonites that offered Palestinians 95 percent of what they wanted.
>The Bushies should say to Mr. Arafat that the U.S. will get re-engaged if he
>accepts the Clinton plan, or a Bush adaptation of it. The focus should not
>be on whether Mr. Powell is serious about mediating but on whether Mr.
>Arafat is serious about a deal.
>On Cuba, we should long ago have lifted the embargo so Cubans could see that
>the reason their economy is so backward is not because of the U.S. blockade
>but because of Mr. Castro's idiotic Marxism. On North Korea, the Bushies
>have raised the bar so high in their talks with Kim Jong Il - to restrict
>his missile production - that it appears they don't really want a deal and
>are just waiting for him to die. Mr. Kim can export a lot of missiles while
>we wait for him to die.
>The one area where the U.S. did not rely on biology - but on force,
>incentives and creative diplomacy - was in Serbia. There we created a
>context where all the focus was on whether the Serbian people would allow
>Slobodan Milosevic to be their leader. Slobo wanted to make us the issue,
>and we made him the issue.
>The U.S. can't choose the leaders of Cuba, Serbia, North Korea, Iraq or
>Palestine, but we can do more than wait for them to die. We can create a
>context that puts greater pressure on these leaders to make better choices,
>a context that puts all the blame on them, not us, if they don't and a
>context that may not solve any of these problems but at least strengthens us
>with our allies and the people in these countries.

Philippa Winkler
Flagstaff, Arizona, USA
"kiss the mountain air we breathe"

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