A great quote from ‘Brainy Quote’
What is diplomacy? What is it supposed to suggest? Is it a way or method that so called ‘civilized’ societies use in order to resolve their issues?
To me diplomacy is similar to what the wise old tortoise in the pic says- “Say little or nothing-do little or nothing but sound like you really care when you are saying it.”
I believe that most efforts to solve disagreements diplomatically depends not on logic or what’s right but rather on the relative strength of the country’s involved when considering their economic, military and political influence around the globe. Weaker or lesser states seldom come out on top of diplomatic efforts pertaining to fair play and global justice. Those nations or blocks of nations who have shown no hesitation to resort to physical violence are, all too often, more successful ‘diplomats’. This is being played out on the world stage almost daily in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan. The continent of Africa, with little diplomatic strength to draw on, occupies the other end of the spectrum in terms of influence around the world. These days our ‘diplomats’ are more likely to show up in the uniforms of the US, Russia, England, Canada (to a lesser degree), France and now even North Korea is trying to prove it feels ready to be a major player on the world scene. There are other less subtle players who also shift great power around easily and with a great deal of influence–Saudi Arabia, China and India come to mind.
To see how convoluted diplomacy can be we need to look no further than Saudi Arabia and their so called relationship with the US. This is a country who has pledged to support the US but allowed training camps in the north of their country to continue to plan and carry out the suicide bomber attacks on other countries including the States. We support them militarily in the region but turn a blind eye to the criminals that operate in side their borders. How’s that working for everyone?
If we consider diplomacy from a more local perspective and a smaller scale we see in our own country how diplomacy has failed miserably. The participants–the ‘diplomats’ are dressed up as politicians but the outcomes are basically the same. Ottawa sends out its ‘negotiators’ to placate the citizens with words of promise and so forth. We buy it because to not buy it leaves us with little hope for a better life. The proof here is how the homeless, the veterans, those who are challenged everyday with mental health disorders, Native Canadians and even seniors have fared in the system for as far back as anyone can remember. These folks are time and again left at the back of the line to somehow survive as they can. We do, however, seem to have enough resources to hand out millions upon millions of dollars to those with no stake in this country and no ties. From a diplomatic point of view we haven’t yet learned how to say NO-nicely-to other unfortunates in the world and we haven’t yet found the argument that some times people have to fight for their own freedom no matter how great the odds against them. We haven’t learned how to and when to lend a hand to some and when to say you are on your own with this one to others. We are not the saviours of the world and cannot be and still take care of those at home.
Diplomacy, it seems, has two sides to it and we haven’t yet figured out that one of those sides means that people will be called upon from time to time to take care of their own business. We have lost sight of what diplomacy is or needs to be and instead have created a different meaning for the word to suit our national/global behaviour. I always thought the goal for us is to survive as a country and a nation by using the resources that we have been blessed with and the dedication and drive of those who built and continue to build Canada. That entails recognizing and accepting, with great sorrow, that we can’t always save the underdogs and that the underdogs need to learn how to save themselves sometimes. Take care of home first and share the rest with those who are most needy.
I always try to go back to what our children are left to learn when the dust settles. What are the lessons of the day that will make our kids better stewards of this great country? What do we teach them when we are ‘diplomatic’ and consistent sometimes and only when it seems to benefit others in other lands more than here at home. How do our kids make sense of that. I’m not hearing how that works but what I do hear is ‘they will learn how to be generous and how to care for others. Oddly I agree with that statement wholeheartedly. My difficulty is understanding who are those others? Where do they live? Should that not be those at home? Don’t we have an obligation to care for those of US who have difficulty taking care of themselves?
Diplomacy has become nothing more than a good ‘photo op’ for the world to judge us by. Shame on us.
Anyways, that’s how I see it. Thanks for dropping by-all the best, Jim
If you would like to contact me pleas do so at: firstname.lastname@example.org OR through my web site at: jimcloughley.com
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