James Baker vs. Condi Rice: The Galactic Diplomatic Showdown
“They start from completely different places,” said Dennis Ross, the
Middle Eastnegotiator who worked for Mr. Baker years ago and left the State Department early in the Bush administration. “Baker approaches everything with a negotiator’s mindset. That doesn’t mean every negotiation leads to a deal, but you engage your adversaries and use your leverage to change their behavior. This administration has never had a negotiator’s mind-set. It divides the world into friends and foes, and the foes are incorrigible and not redeemable. There has been more of an instinct toward regime change than to changing regime behavior.”
Which is better? The realist in me - or perhaps the person who's just sick of the suffering Iraq created by the administration's idealistic mindset - dismisses the approach described as the administration approach.
But is there any argument for that approach? One thing that might be said is that simply dealing with and accepting oppressive, terrorist-supporting governments is part of what fuels groups like Al Qaeda in the first place. Of course, so do wars in pursuit of regime change and spreading democracy.
I imagine most of my readers would agree with me and prefer the realist mindset (the Baker mindset). But can any argument be made for the other one?
Update: Forgot to link to the analysis. Here it is. What made it especially interesting to read this is that, for a while, I was glad that Rice HAD a view on diplomacy. As opposed to, say, Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld, who simply wanted to blow 'em all away. It's interesting now to read different views on diplomacy.