Posted on Wednesday 30 April 2008

Palestinian Hamas militants are serving as the "proxy warriors" for an Iran bent on acquiring an atomic bomb and destroying Israel, US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said here Tuesday. In a speech to American Jews in Washington, Rice promoted the US policy of isolating Hamas which she said refused to renounce violence, recognize Israel’s right to exist and respect all previous Palestinian agreements with Israel.

"But perhaps of deepest concern, the leaders of Hamas are increasingly serving as the proxy warriors of an Iranian regime that is destabilizing the region, seeking a nuclear capability and proclaiming its desire to destroy Israel," Rice told the American Jewish Committee. "How can any government negotiate with a group that sees every agreement, every choice not as a compromise to advance peace, but as a tactic to later advance war?" she asked.

"No, the only responsible policy is to isolate Hamas and defend against its threats until Hamas makes the choice that supports peace," Rice said…
I’m not in a position to argue with Dr. Rice’s conclusions. She may be correct. But this is not the language of a diplomat, because it leaves no channel open for future discussion. Hamas is out to destroy Israel, ergo, we are out to destroy Hamas, particularly at a speech to the American Jewish Committee. It’s fine for us to have a policy of isolation and containment for Hamas, but she might throw in a little phrase like "at the present time" or "as things stand right now" or "in their current rigid posture" – just to prove to the rest of us that she even knows that d·i·p·l·o·m·a·c·y is her job. The phrase "until Hamas makes the choice that supports peace" is as unbending as Hamas – in the same category as the famous 2001 cowboy talk or "if you’re not with us, you’re against us."

d·i·p·l·o·m·a·c·y means something. Good diplomats overstate and posture for sure, but always include a back door if the other side wants to talk. When dealing with rigid people, one has to give them a pathway to softening up that allows both sides to save face in the process. Our State Department is as "undiplomatic" as that of our enemies. Right now, Shiite Cleric, Moqtada al-Sadr, is doing a better job at d·i·p·l·o·m·a·c·y than we are…

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.