Image by The Falafel via Flickr"An generation of American leaders has been brought up with a kind of Manicheanism: to some, bombs are the necessary catalysts to negotiation; to others, bombs are just evil. To only just a few traditionalists, it seems, dropping bombs represents a diplomatic failure, however necessary it may be as a last resort.
Such reductionism in foreign policy thinking is compounded by the periodic rivalries between the State and Defense Departments (and the White House), and the widespread but bizarre perception that negotiations (and “diplomacy” itself) are the weapons of the weak. Obama has rightly ridiculed the perception. But he will need to show some results for his critique to take hold. He won’t get those results if his diplomacy continues to be as tentative and under-managed as it has been to date."
History News Network: The Neglected Art of Diplomacy
December 7, 2009
Mr. Weisbrode is the author of The Atlantic Century: Four Generations of Extraordinary Diplomats who Forged America's Vital Alliance with Europe (Da Capo, Nov. 2009)Book description (from Borders): Historian Kenneth Weisbrode reveals for the first time, warts and all the insider's story of such well-known figures as Dean Acheson, W. Averell Harriman, and Henry Kissinger. It is the story of how and why the State Department's Bureau of European Affairs (EUR)the "mother bureau" as it was called, the nerve center of the Atlanticists rose to become the U.S. government's preeminent foreign policy office.