Lately, it appears the standard response that comes when someone suggests a diplomatic solution to the newest crisis to break out in the world is something like: "Sorry, we can’t do that."
Writes John Hall of Media General News Service:
Everywhere you hear doors slamming.
No to Middle East peacekeepers, no to more trade globalization, no to ceasefires.
Down went the World Trade Organization expansion, and with it the hopes of the developing world to get a better shake from the free market.
The European Union was quick to blame the United States for the collapse of the talks. In the famous coinage of Jeane Kirkpatrick, "blame America first" was in the air. The same French-inspired agricultural interests who regard McDonald’s and other processed foods as their lifelong enemy sabotaged this treaty, although there were reports of congressional logrolling that tied the U.S. negotiators’ hands when it came to all the big cash crops.
Mainly, this was all about U.S. and European squabbling. That carries over, unfortunately, into the security sphere, where the Middle East is now crying out for help from the world’s most powerful alliance. The Middle East can save its breath, because NATO is also the world’s unhealthiest political alliance.
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice tried to patch something together in Rome. A ceasefire and a Lebanese buffer zone patrolled by a well-armed force that can keep Hezbollah guerillas under control is what’s needed.
But who wants to contribute to it? The Israelis’ accidental destruction of a U.N. outpost, killing four observers, was not helpful. Italy’s prime minister said he would send peacekeepers to southern Lebanon despite it, but the French said they would need an invitation from Hezbollah first. Germans said much the same.
Americans are so tied down in Iraq and Afghanistan they can’t go anywhere else. Likewise, the British.
What’s your excuse?