Thursday, December 10, 2015
Peace Before Multilateralism
Diplomacy is the pursuit of a patient exploration of the emotions and freely chosen needs and priorities of all sides in a dispute. Bilateralism is two sides talking it out. Multilateralism is many countries working toward a common goal. Often peacemaking. Theoretically, a friendly but non partial third party helping one side to negotiate with the party with whom it is involved in a conflict with can fall under Multilateralism. They are both thus all but synonymous with diplomacy. But it is not the full measure of diplomacy. Multilateralism and it's younger sister, bilateralism, are useful tools; actually, more than that, the prefered methods of diplomacy. But not the true goal of honest diplomacy, which is peace.
Historically, we find that whenever political hawks are criticizing diplomats for being too left wing, what they are really saying is that, there is a certainty that continued pursuit of this line of diplomacy will surely bring further violence, not less violence. For example, when Yugoslavia was negotiated away, sacrificed on the altar as a peace offering to the Nazi regime during the prelude to World War 2. Those talks were multilateral, which for those obsessed with the trappings of peace, as Neville Chamberlain was, should have been a sure fired guarantee of peace. Indeed, he cried out "Peace in our time." Due to the dedicated pursuit of the highest ideals of multilateralism, only without regard to the goals of diplomacy: true peace.
It is easy to confuse multilateralism for peacemaking, as 99 percent of the time, that is the way to go. The only proper path to go to get a diplomatic process moving and keep it on track. But there is an inherent dependency within multilateralism. All sides need to be willing to negotiate in good faith. There is no way around that for any peace deal signed to not be destined to fail from the very start.
Like a basketball team with less time on the game clock than the shot clock, if the team gets distracted on the current methodology of trying to run it's offense, the game may end before they get to shoot any shot at all towards the basket. Which would be worse than at least firing off a low percentage shot. If the players lose track of time, the game will end very badly. If not, there is a hope for success. Similarly, a diplomat must focus on the greater goal of true peace at all times, even if the minutiae of keeping the diplomatic process going, is the very air that the diplomat breathes. If war breaks out because of the very diplomacy, then it is better that there had been no diplomacy at all to begin with.
In the negotiations with the Palestinian Authority, time is about to run out, and Israel must consider a unilateralistic approach that can actually prevent war, rather than continue with multilateral or bilateral diplomacy that only gives terrorists a chance to win the fight to make more innocent blood be spilt.
Palestinian Arab leadership must conform to the rules of multinational civilization, not merely pan Arabic conquest, to be a real peace partner with Israel. Relationship building with a group of people who think they need not be civilized at the end of diplomacy, ends the hopes for peace. Whereas, inviting them to realize they cannot get away that, begins a workable relationship framework from which to build a mutual relationship towards a true and lasting peace. Even if these steps must be unilateral, Israel acting on it's own, if it furthers the cause of peace, that is a very good thing. That is the very goal of ideal diplomacy.
The goal of ideal diplomacy, is peacemaking. Not the even handed alignment of interests for its own sake. Therefore poor diplomats will repeat ad nauseum the mantra of multilateralism while good diplomats will know when to not interfere with a cessation of negotiations with a pro terroristic leadership. Good diplomats will support a low percentage shot that at least gives the team a chance to win, even if it is a unilateral approach.
May the wisdom of this be accepted by all that need to understand it. So that Israel is not any longer goaded by it's allies into being a sacrifice for peace, in it's own land. May that idolatry end forever. May it very soon be so, by the grace of God.