Sunday, January 11, 2009

One for the Huh? News - From India With Love

PTI News dateline Jan 10 New Delhi has this piece on President Bush’s man in India doing his contribution to the Legacy Project, plus his take on how to deal with the foreign policy conundrum between India and Pakistan. His solution is quite simple: “the United States should not insert itself as the manager or the referee of the process.”

“Amid reports of the Barack Obama administration planning to appoint a special envoy for India and Pakistan, outgoing US Ambassador David C Mulford has said Washington should not "insert" itself as a "referee" between the two South Asian countries. "I think the two sides (India and Pakistan) should be encouraged but the United States should not insert itself as the manager or the referee of the process," Mulford told Karan Thapar in 'Devil's Advocate' programme. When referred to reports that a special envoy might be appointed by the incoming Obama administration, he said, "that issue is going to be addressed by other people. I don't think that is going to happen". He, however, said, "I think the foreign policy which has encouraged both the sides to talk without inserting United States in the middle has been the right thing to do. The Bush approach has been successful. It has produced good results." The Ambassador's comments came in the midst of reports that the next US administration may appoint former diplomat Richard C Holbrooke as a special envoy for India and Pakistan.

Wait, wait - if the U.S. is not a player and should not be a manager or a referee, then the U.S. should be what – a cheerleader?!?

Oh, why would he say something like that? I hate it when folks deviate from the program because it messes up with the folders in my brain. The State Department/USAID Strategic Plan for FY 2007-2012 states under Strategic Goal #1: conflict prevention, mitigation, and response:

We will support conflict mitigation, peace, reconciliation, and justice processes. Our diplomatic and development activities will reduce the threat or impact of violent conflict by developing early warning, crisis response planning and management, and rapid response capability. Peace, reconciliation, and justice processes will stress opportunities to bring together opposing parties, support negotiation processes, promote indigenous peace building efforts, and support appropriate processes to hold accountable perpetrators of mass atrocities. We will emphasize regional solutions to regional problems and sustainable, long-term strategies to address complex challenges.

Can you really do all that by being on the sideline, as a cheerleader? Is it possible to emphasize regional solutions to regional problems by staying on the sidelines and shouting "you go guys! just don't fire your nukes at each other?" I'm going to be walking around confused for the next 168 hours, doggone it!

I don’t know how many people have this report in their reading list, but can we at least get our ambassadors, especially our non career ambos have this in their mandatory reading list before they conduct diplomatic stuff? Oops, forget I said that. A new strategic plan for 2009-2012 is probably in order. That one should be required reading.

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