The moment of truth has come at a price for some, like Robert Gibbs, and has also created a rift between some groups, the Israelis and Palestinians. The point of that statement is that in the heat of talking, even with your friends, sometimes it is impossible to solve that need desperately solved because you still are at an impasse. For Democrats in congress and the president, the problem is not satisfying their base. The rift between these two sides is not huge, but their are disappointments. The left did not get a true universal/single payer/public option that they wanted and they did not get the strongest financial regulation that they asked for, and Gibbs essentially said that they are going to have to deal with that.
Internationally, the Israelis and the Palestinians are unable to come to an agreement on peace accords because Israel refuses to give up ground and the Palestinians want them to give up ground, thus the problem. It is not impossible to do this. As I talked about in my last post, Venezuela and Columbia finally sorted out their bilateral trade issues and political issues after about a month of political wrangling.
It is a good idea in politics and diplomacy to reach out to your friends, not alienate them like Gibbs did, and not to start by giving into some demands like the Israelis need to do. Sometimes this means working with new partners and patching up old relationships, like Obama should do with African nations. Essentially, being careful about who you work with and how you negotiate are key in all forms of politics. Tact and planning are the key ingredients to working through any political complication. We need more of that in society, otherwise it will be very difficult to solve our most compelling problems.
To sum up my posts today:
1. Allies and enemies was my theme
2. I posted a new “Interesting Things and Independent Ideas”
3. I gave my opinion on Robert Gibb’s “Professional Left” comments
4. Israel and Palestinian negotiations are in trouble, again
5. Obama can find new partners in Africa
6. Columbia and Venezuela have patched things up, making me hopeful.
Once again, thanks for reading my blog. There will not be a big posts tomorrow. I plan to go over to Pawnee Rock in Kansas to take some pictures, it is a beautiful place, and I will post them. Also, look for my stimulus investigation coming soon. I leave you now with Justin Bieber getting hit with a water bottle.
Photo Credit: http://dannycarlino.com/hod.aspx
Venezuela and Columbia have decided to restart their trade negotiations and establish bilateral ties again after a brief split between the two countries over FARC (a Columbian paramilitary group)which has always been a big divide between the two nations. FARC is a Marxist rebel group in Columbia that has caused a conflict for decades with Columbia, it is supported by Venezuela. The AFP stated this:
New Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos agreed with his Venezuelan counterpart Hugo Chavez on Tuesday to restore diplomatic ties broken last month after Colombia accused Venezuela of harboring FARC rebels.
The leaders said they would return ambassadors to their posts as soon as possible and set up five committees to help reestablish ties, particularly over trade, which has been damaged for months.
The U.S. and international community reaction has been so far supportive:
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Wednesday she hoped the accord would help resolve a long cycle of disputes between the two neighbors.
The European Union, Brazil and many Latin American nations lauded the move as a positive step for the region.
This shows that even two “frienemies” can come together in times of crisis.
President Obama has been struggling with much of trying to replace the old problems of the Bush years, by that I mean most of the bad things that took place. What Obama has not been able to do is to connect with the African continent. This is very surprising since he is the first African American president.
Last week, the White House celebrated the 50th Anniversary of much of the African continent. Most of the people in attendance were young people from Africa trying to make a difference. There was surprisingly little diplomacy in the this ceremony.
Obama has a bit of problem. He has not connected with the continent the way that Bush a was able to. With many domestic issues on his plate and two wars, that is not really on his mind right now. I find this a bit disturbing because much of the failed states, like Somalia, are breading grounds for terrorism both national and transnational. I would think that he would try and combat this problem, but maybe not. He must find a way to use Africa to his advantage foreign policy wise. An article from the Daily Beast puts it this way:
Of course, Clinton, as Obama’s diplomat-in-chief, has spent more time engaging in the field on the pressing issues to the continent. And this is not to say that Africa isn’t critically important to the White House. Attacks from terrorist group al-Shabaab (“the Youth”) in the Horn of Africa—along with the failed Christmas Day bombing attempt from a young Nigerian trained in Yemen—placed African youth squarely within the administration’s fight against violent extremism globally. Najma Abdi, who questioned Obama on the violent conflict in her native Somalia—which produced last month’s deadly bombing in Kampala, Uganda—had a mixed reaction to his response. “I was asking for me and for the millions of Somalis worried about our future,” she said. “His response was diplomatic, but cautious.”
By contrast, Clinton’s State Department—the official host of the summit—has focused relentlessly on the connection between youth engagement and foreign policy. “The new problems—food security, climate change, public health—can’t be solved by diplomats anymore,” says one diplomat who works on youth issues for the State Department. And demographically, the people that mattered 15 years ago don’t look like the people that matter today.” In addition to the young men and women sporting fashions—and opinions—from across Africa, Obama and Clinton are also reminders of this fact.
They are correct on this point, the Obama administration must find a way to reach out to Africa not through diplomacy, but through aid programs. This article gives a good cue to the Obama administration that it is not just modern diplomacy, but cultural diplomacy that matter too. Only through cultural diplomacy can the U.S. show people in these nations that it is not terrorism that is the answer, but building a community in the business world and education that makes a difference. With those objectives Obama can help root out terrorism and gain a new alley all at the same time.
Probably one of the hardest diplomatic negotiations in the history of the world is that between Israel and Palestine. Once again, U.S. Special Envoy to the Middle East George Mitchell was unable to restart talks between the two sides on Wednesday during a meeting with Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
As I have discussed before, the main reason that the talks will not start is because both are making almost impossible demands of one another. The Associated Press listed this of Israel’s demands for the talks:
Israel is insisting on talks with no preconditions, balking at previous international statements and frameworks that might have massaged the differences.
Meanwhile, Palestinians are demanding this of Israel:
Palestinians are demanding frameworks for the talks that include a total freeze on construction in Israeli settlements and a commitment to the creation of a Palestinian state in the West Bank, Gaza Strip and east Jerusalem.
So what you have are two contradictory sets of negotiation startups. Israel does not want preconditions, but the Palestinians want preconditions. Now, demanding settlement freezes is not new. In fact, I that is pretty much the concession every time by the Palestinians, but when one side wants the other to give ground and the other will not, the problem will never get solved resulting in deadlock.
Photo Credit: http://micheleroohani.com/blog/2009/01/12/an-eye-for-an-eyelash-hamas-and-israel/