Thursday, September 19, 2013

How Diplomacy Works

In the midst of all the latest and greatest manufactured crisis, it can be easy to forget about the real crises we face. Earlier this month, our eyes were on Syria as the nation seemed to be inching closer to joining the war already raging in that corner of the Middle East. But last week, President Obama scored a diplomatic breakthrough as Russia finally offered a deal for Syria to unload its chemical weapons that the US, France, and the UK could accept.

Since then, this story has continued... Along with the civil war. Unfortunately for many in Syria, the conflict remains. Yet even with some belligerent language continuing to creep into the international dialogue on Syria, an international consensus on how to remove the chemical weapons from the Assad Regime is still near.

And on top of this, we may be nearing another major diplomatic breakthrough. President Obama has recently exchanged letters with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, and a deal may be near to prevent Iran from developing its own stockpile of nuclear weapons. While there aren't any official plans (yet?) to normalize US relations with Iran, it at least looks like there's some sort of dialogue and some sort of budding agreement on (refraining from developing) nuclear weapons.

While there are clearly still challenges ahead, it looks like progress is being made. So why doesn't it seem this way? That's a good question. And it may have something to do with certain politicians and talking heads not understanding how diplomacy works.

Fortunately for everyone, progress is being made on Syria and Iran. And progress is being made without any shots being fired. This is how diplomacy works.

Sure, it may not be as salacious as provoking armed conflict. And it may not be as "sexy" as causing a stir on the pages of Pravda. But again, this is how diplomacy works... And this is why Capitol Hill has been able to shift focus from real crises back to the usual manufactured crisis.

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