More Diplomacy, Less Military

Discussion in 'Military' started by Orange_Juice, Aug 11, 2008.

  1. Orange_Juice
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    Orange_Juice Senior Member

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    Great op-ed!


    Iraq and Afghanistan are the messes getting attention today, but they are only symptoms of a much broader cancer in American foreign policy.

    A few glimpses of this larger affliction:

    ¶The United States has more musicians in its military bands than it has diplomats.

    ¶This year alone, the United States Army will add about 7,000 soldiers to its total; that’s more people than in the entire American Foreign Service.

    ¶More than 1,000 American diplomatic positions are vacant because the Foreign Service is so short-staffed, but a myopic Congress is refusing to finance even modest new hiring. Some 1,100 could be hired for the cost of a single C-17 military cargo plane.

    In short, the United States is hugely overinvesting in military tools and underinvesting in diplomatic tools. The result is a lopsided foreign policy that antagonizes the rest of the world and is ineffective in tackling many modern problems.

    After all, you can’t bomb global warming.

    Incredibly, the most eloquent spokesman for more balance between “hard power” and “soft power” is Defense Secretary Robert Gates. Mr. Gates, who is superb in repairing the catastrophe left behind by Donald Rumsfeld, has given a series of astonishing speeches in which he calls for more resources for the State Department and aid agencies.

    “One of the most important lessons of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan is that military success is not sufficient to win,” Mr. Gates said. He noted that the entire American diplomatic corps — about 6,500 people — is less than the staffing of a single aircraft carrier group, yet Congress isn’t interested in paying for a larger Foreign Service.

    “It simply does not have the built-in, domestic constituency of defense programs,” Mr. Gates said. “As an example, the F-22 aircraft is produced by companies in 44 states; that’s 88 senators.”

    With the Olympics unfolding in China now, the Navy and the Air Force are seizing upon China’s rise as an excuse to grab tens of billions of dollars for the F-22, for an advanced destroyer, for new attack submarines. But we’re failing to invest minuscule sums to build good will among Chinese.

    For the price of one F-22, we could — for 25 years — operate American libraries in each Chinese province, pay for more Chinese-American exchanges, and hire more diplomats prepared to appear on Chinese television and explain in fluent Chinese what American policy is. And for the price of one M.R.E. lunch for one soldier, the State Department could make a few phone calls to push the Chinese leadership to respond to the Dalai Lama’s olive branch a few days ago, helping to eliminate a long-term irritant in U.S.-China relations.

    Then there’s the Middle East. Dennis Ross, the longtime Middle East peace negotiator, says he has been frustrated “beyond belief” to see resources showered on the military while diplomacy has to fight for scraps. Mr. Ross argues that an investment of just $1 billion — financing job creation and other grass-roots programs in the West Bank — could significantly increase the prospect of an Israeli-Palestinian peace. But that money isn’t forthcoming.

    Our intuitive approach to fighting terrorists and insurgents is to blow things up. But one of the most cost-effective counterterrorism methods in countries like Pakistan and Afghanistan may be to build things up, like schooling and microfinance. Girls’ education sometimes gets more bang for the buck than a missile.

    A new study from the RAND Corporation examined how 648 terror groups around the world ended between 1968 and 2006. It found that by far the most common way for them to disappear was to be absorbed by the political process. The second most common way was to be defeated by police work. In contrast, in only 7 percent of cases did military force destroy the terrorist group.

    “There is no battlefield solution to terrorism,” the report declares. “Military force usually has the opposite effect from what is intended.”

    The next president should absorb that lesson and revalidate diplomacy as the primary tool of foreign policy — even if that means talking to ogres. Take Iran. Until recently, the American officials in charge of solving the Iranian problem were not even allowed to meet Iranians.

    “We need to believe in the power of American diplomacy, and we should not believe a military conflict with Iran is inevitable,” said Nicholas Burns, until recently the under secretary of state for political affairs and for three years the government’s point person on Iran. “Our first impulse should be a serious and patient and persistent diplomatic effort. Too often in our national debate we focus on the military option and give short shrift to the diplomatic option.”

    http://www.nytimes.com/2008/08/10/opinion/10kristof.html
     
  2. dilloduck
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    dilloduck Diamond Member

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    Right--that will happen any day now. Cmon fool---we can "diplomacy" until we are blue in the face. No one is willing to talk back. Have you heard Al- Quaeda or the Taliban throw out any ideas for settling all this peacefully ?
     
  3. sealybobo
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    sealybobo Diamond Member

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    It is inexcusable for U.S. taxpayers to continue to foot the bill for projects the Iraqis are fully capable of funding themselves. We should not be paying for Iraqi projects, while Iraqi oil revenues continue to pile up in the bank.”

    http://www.nytimes.com/2008/08/06/world/middleeast/06surplus.html?_r=1&oref=slogin
    Soaring oil prices will leave the Iraqi government with a cumulative budget surplus of as much as $79 billion by year’s end, according to an American federal oversight agency. But Iraq has spent only a minute fraction of that on reconstruction costs, which are now largely borne by the United States.
    The unspent windfall, which covers surpluses from oil sales since 2005, appears likely to reinforce growing debate about the approximately $48 billion in American taxpayer money devoted to rebuilding Iraq since the American-led invasion.

    What did I say? I said the GOP were playing us for fools. See, it is more profitable for the oil companies if WE pay for Iraq's reconstruction, not them and not Iraqi oil

    That's what I mean when I say Republicans like to privatize profits and socialize the losses.
     
  4. sealybobo
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    sealybobo Diamond Member

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    Bulk of Iraq Reconstruction Monies 'Will Come From Iraqis,' Rumsfeld Says
    By Gerry J. Gilmore
    American Forces Press Service


    WASHINGTON, Oct. 2, 2003 – The American taxpayer will not have to foot the entire bill for rebuilding post-Saddam Iraq, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld said here today.
     
  5. dilloduck
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    dilloduck Diamond Member

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    well get your favorite diplomatic and go tell Iraq to give us the money.
     
  6. Orange_Juice
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    Orange_Juice Senior Member

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    Maybe we can get the military band to to it, we have so many of them!

    I love how the op-ed points out that so much military spending is simply pork. You know, earmarks, that McCain says he will --cough cough--eliminate.

    Oink, oink
     
  7. dilloduck
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    dilloduck Diamond Member

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    Bullshit--the military bands play music, dumbass. YOU get your diplomatic buddies to go over there. How many does it take to hear Iraq say fuck you, for God sakes ?
     
  8. CSM
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    CSM Senior Member

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    If diplomacy is damned effective, why do so many countries even bother with maintaining a military force at all?

    The truth is that diplomacy simply does not work against an adversary that is determined to blow your ass up.
     
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  9. editec
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    editec Mr. Forgot-it-All

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    If the office supply lobby was as powerful as the military industrial complex lobby...

    ...THEN the State Department would get some respect in Congress and plenty of funding for those administrative needs, too.
     
  10. sealybobo
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    sealybobo Diamond Member

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    I'm sure that's what Iran is telling Mook Tada El Sadr right now about us. LOL.
     
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