Saturday, January 20, 2007

The World of Good and Evil

This is not about poetry. It is about more weighty subjects. But those of you who read me on a routine basis have learned I digress. This is about a world of texture and of color. A world in which there are gray areas and all is not black and white.

According an associate press story, Lawrence Wilkerson, a former chief of staff to then Secretary of State Colin Powell, told the BBC in an interview that Vice President Dick Cheney rejected an offer by Iran in 2003 to help the U.S. stabilize Iraq and at the same time end its military support of Hezbollah and Hamas. Wilkerson said when the offer was received, it was thought by the State Department to be “very propitious moment” to strike a deal, but as soon as it reached the vice president’s office, “… the old mantra of ‘We don’t talk to evil”…reasserted itself.

Of course here we are three years later, 3,000 plus U.S. Servicemen deal, countless others with wounds that will impact them for the rest of their lives, tens of thousands of Iraqi civilian causalities and a bloody civil-war between rival factions and no end in sight. The Iraq Study Group recommends that one alternative approach would be to enlist the support of Iran and Syria in the region. Of course, the President, el al in the administration have chosen to ignore this possibility in favor of sending 21,500 more American to the middle of a civil war.

I understand fully the concern President Bush has with nuclear proliferation. There are several fronts in which this is an issue, including North Korea and some of the regions of the old Soviet Union which have unaccounted for nuclear weapons grade supplies. Unfortunately, through out his one and a half terms of service, he has really achieved nothing on two of those fronts and largely ignored the third. This administration sees everything in terms of “good” and “evil” and if you are evil, we isolate you and hope that one day you will wake up and realize you are evil and decide to be good instead. Is this progressive foreign policy?

For many years, nations have successfully worked to find areas of agreement even though they have other issues in which they remain far apart. There is the old adage that the “enemy of my enemy is my friend.” It has allowed countries to find areas of mutual interest and work towards solving problems from what they can agree upon. If what Wilkerson has indicated about Iran’s communication in 2003 is current, it angers me to think that the Vice President would not have allowed the State Department to see what might have been accomplished to spare the region more bloodshed, loss of more American lives, and slow the $380 billion plus drain on the people of this country.

If one is to accept the premise of good and evil, it might be noted that good like beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Such a concept is strictly black and white. I can acknowledge my fears and concerns about the nuclear paths of North Korea and Iran. But I can clearly see how from their vantage point they feel a double standard that says some nations have nuclear weapons and it is ok for those that have them to keep them, but the rest just have to accept the fact that no one else can.

Perhaps it is time again for us to conduct our foreign policy in living color – recognizing all the gray areas and not just looking at everything as if it were just black and white. Do we need to put poets in government? Is this the answer?
Sorry, I digress again.
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