25.7.06

Old-fashioned diplomacy remains the only route to peace

New Statesman - Old-fashioned diplomacy remains the only route to peace:

The neo-cons - depleted but still kicking - are seizing on the crisis as a vindication of their view that diplomacy is appeasement by other means. It is these people who call themselves the radical wing of Israel's Likud party. It was Vice-President Dick Cheney who previously undermined visits to Israel by Colin Powell, then US secretary of state, by advising Sharon beforehand of a tough line to take against him.

Things are not so different now. Bush stands cynically by, allowing the Israelis an extra few days or weeks to inflict more damage before urging them to call it off when it suits them. As ever, his hapless friend Tony Blair nods in unison.

The biggest of all the failures of Bush and Blair, however, is to have undermined the credibility and art of international diplomacy. The tragedy of the events in Lebanon and beyond is that they have made its revival all the more urgent.

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