Wednesday, February 19, 2003

Our Bad Attitude

It appears that Tom Friedman makes a fair point today when he argues that the current Bush administration does not conduct diplomacy as deftly as the previous one. However, Friedman neglects to address certain significant differences between the two situations faced by each administration. Previously, we had to expel a country that had attacked its neighbor. Currently, we are in an ongoing process of defending ourselves against attack. True, Iraq did not attack us on 9/11; but anyone who is not persuaded of the possibility of an Iraq-Al Qaeda collaboration in the future must have slept through Colin Powell's recent presentation at the U.N.

Repelling an aggressor in a volatile region of the world in which we have vital interests demands a different kind of diplomacy than defending ourselves against attack. Friedman laments our current supposedly bad "attitude" in his piece; but perhaps the rest of the world, including our so-called allies, France and Germany, should exhibit a little more understanding if we seem a bit ornery lately.


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