Saturday, March 05, 2005

Matthew Yglasias says it well

DIPLOMACY WORKS. Saudi Arabia joins the chorus of nations leaning on Syria to get out of Lebanon. To reiterate a point from yesterday, I think what liberals need to be pointing out here is the extent to which this Lebanon episode -- like Ukraine's Orange Revolution before it, and, one hopes, political reform in Egypt -- vindicates the general liberal approach to world affairs. Choosing your moments carefully, following the lead of domestic opposition groups, and working through non-military channels can be a very effective way of getting things done.

Worrying about the extent to which Bush deserves credit for this or that is the wrong way to think about things. The real issue is, insofar as American actions have played an important role (in all cases, opposition groups on the ground have clearly been the key actors), what kind of actions have we taken? The invade/occupy/democratize model debuted in Iraq hasn't been used elsewhere and hasn't been a stunning success in Iraq. An alternative model has been deployed several times now to great effect. If we can move toward a bipartisan understanding that this latter approach is the right way to go, that will do the country a great deal of good -- especially as we think about how to approach Iran, the one place where there seems to be non-trivial support for another Iraq-style military confrontation.

LINK to American Prospect.

Another way of saying it is "You get better results from a kind word and a gun than with a kind word alone."
Tacky, but true. After everything else is stripped away, the power to back up your words is the only way to walk away from the negotiating table is to have the political and military balance of power on your side.
But first you have to invest the time and energy to negotiate.
What's so hard to grasp about that?

Tip to Dove's Eye View.

No comments: