The addiction to negotiation
Will editorial writers and foreign policy experts ever admit that negotiations are futile with people like Sadr? It is amazing that writers, from the safety of their skyscrapers, sipping their lattes, can actually ignore a history of fruitless negotiations with people who reach agreements and then break them when the time is propitious. One doesn't even have to go as far back as Hitler's betrayal of his commitments at Munich and his non—aggression pact with Stalin to find instances of evil leaders ignoring their own solemn vows as soon as it is convenient.
Jimmy Carter upstaged Bill Clinton and forced an agreement with Kim II Sung regarding nuclear weapons —— which the dictator later violated. Yet the same experts again counsel accommodation with serial liasr. The International Atmomic Energy Agency and the EU 3 (Britain, France and Germany) have reached understandings with the Iranians on halting their nuclear weapons program —— and these have been broken by the mullahs. The Israelis have reached deals with Arafat and the Palestinians which the Palestinians have trumpeted as hudnas: temporary truces to be broken at opportune times —— as indeed they have been.
Here, the Los Angeles Times counsels that a truce must be reached with al—Sadr, despite proof that a previous truce was merely used by him to rearm his forces. These endless negotiations and series of deals should be seen as what they are: a tactical ploy for opponents to become more powerful. In the end, they often cause more harm than good, and more lives are lost.
Yet a perusal of numerous Foreign Policy magazines (and listening to Richard Armitage) will illustrate that many analysts, academics and tin—pot editorial writers still are pushing for a return to a humiliating pleading with these plotters to reach a deal.
Apparently, the "process" is paramount with these experts. They enjoy the game of give and take—the intellectual and diplomatic gambits that are so much more sophisticated than a forceful resolution of a conflict. They ignore the simplest maxim at our peril: "Fool me once, shame on you...fool me twice, shame on me!"