“Diplomacy require patience, perseverance, empathy, discretion, daring and willingness to dialogue with the enemy”, affirms Mr. Roger Cohen on the ‘International Herald Tribune’.
But we live in times marked by “…impatience, prudent reluctance and unwillingness to dialogue with the bad ones; that’s why diplomacy is dead”.
While searching to comprehend the reasons why ‘Classic Diplomacy’ died, Mr. Cohen brings two examples saying that “Syria is a less constructive example of how a crisis develop and build up in the absence of diplomacy. While the case of Algeria demonstrates that, when negotiations are discarded as a waste of time, death toll rise”.
In his opinion traditional diplomacy may have lost its important role because “the kind of violence that once was remedied by Diplomacy have changed”; as clearly highlights Ambassador William Luers reveling that: “violence comes lesser between States, it has much to do with ‘terrorist’ groups”. As a result, he adds, “armed forces and CIA have taken the initiative of running the relations with governments of the Middle East as well as the state-to-state relations like in the cases of Pakistan , Afghanistan and Iraq”.
Classical Diplomacy, as defined here above in the first paragraph, used to adopt certain measures and rituals that can be characterised as “visionary, futuristic, firm, and pragmatic; but as well gallant and chivalrous” as such it was able to reach feasible targets while mastering the arts of compromise, flexibility, concessions and so on. That was the kind of diplomacy that made great decisions in many occasions throughout recent history, which allow me to bring here some like:
Ø The mediation of Theodor Roosevelt which brought an end to the Russian – Japanese war in 1905, after a series of negotiations taking place in Portsmouth, USA.
Ø A classic diplomatic effort can be represented by the 1972 Nixon visit to Pecking to meet and shake hands with Mao, realisable only after the Kissinger back stage diplomacy.
Ø The secret visit of Henry Kissinger to meet the Soviet leaderships the moment the 1973 Arab/Israeli war burst out; a visit that paved the way to the cease-fire and later on allowed Kissinger to develop his “Shuttle Missions” throughout the region to collect concessions, compromises and flexible stands.
Ø The Camp David Accords of 1978 mediated by Jimmy Carter and signed between Anwar El Sadat of Egypt and Menachem Begin of Israel.
Ø The negotiations between the Palestinian Leader Yasser Arafat and the Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin climaxed by their historic Hand Shake in the gardens of the White House under Bill Clinton in 1993, were the fruit of 14 secret sessions managed by the Norwegian Foreign Minister Johan Jorgen at his country residence.
Ø The last success of international diplomacy goes back to 1995 at Dayton when the peace accords in the ex-Yugoslavia were signed, after being obtained by European Union, USA and Russia.
Today, and as a direct consequence to the shrinking role of America to perform the world’s “Prudent Boss”, negotiation tact as the main tool of Diplomacy also mutated. Today’s negotiations are based on “tough encounters, exhibition of muscles, and not to concede a single millimeter”.. Which may sound good for the hawks of every administration, but this type of ‘Modern Diplomacy’ doesn’t reach any destination or produce tangible results, it just provokes conflicts and often leads to long exhaustive and indigestible wars, implying substantial costs.. Honoured primarily by the common people.
Mr. Stephen Heinz, President of the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, wrote: “when internal politics degenerate into polarisations and paralysis, the impact upon finding diplomatic solutions becomes devastating”. He brings in the examples of Cuba and Iran, but Mr. Cohen adds on Israel/Palestine conflict.
He says: “…they are all foreign politics problems of primary importance, that became treated as tools to acquire political capital on the internal front more than being approached as diplomatic challenge”.
The above thesis confirm that ‘International Diplomatic Culture’, whether applied among states, practiced in the United Nations corridors or simulated between groups; do not follow the traditional heritage of the centuries accumulated set of rules and norms regulating, and teaching, the arts of argumenting between the confronting parts.. It rather have entrusted its achievements to a new type of ‘Non Diplomatic and Offensive Bullying’.
Having said that, let us bring it all to measure the state of our post revolution Egyptian politics:
· Internally, the confrontation is still based on the “take it all or leave it all”.. No room for negotiations, compromises, flexibility, willingness to reach common grounds good enough to build up feasible solutions, allowing the move ahead of the system and the wellbeing of the people. Of course that generates a static political life that cannot solve the daily grievances of a crushed majority among the Egyptian population.
· Externally, the confrontation is founded upon “submitting and reacting”, not using any tool of ‘Creative Diplomacy’ to initiate new ideas and find practical solutions in support of our ‘Strategic National Security’ within the Regional, Arab, African and International spheres.. Not only politically, but as well Economically!!
Real and efficient diplomacy involves accepting the fact that in order to obtain what is wanted or needed, it is necessary to concede something.
So, is it really that big a problem that Egyptians sit with Egyptians and talk with Egyptians to solve the problems of the Egyptians?Pass On The Word.