Waging diplomatic war

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If, to paraphrase Carl von Clausewitz, diplomacy is war by other means, then just as armies are called upon to concentrate their efforts and resources where they can do the most good for their cause, so governments must utilize their diplomatic resources – whether plentiful or scarce – to advance their most important national interests.



The Palestinians and the Iranians have formidable diplomatic resources at their disposal. Both the Palestinians and Iran can expect to receive the support of automatic majorities at the UN for everything they do. And today most international diplomacy is conducted under the aegis of the UN or its affiliated bodies. Understanding their strength, the Palestinians and the Iranians use the UN and its affiliated organs to advance their most important goals. In the Palestinians’ case, UN-based diplomacy is used to delegitimize Israel. In the Iranian case, UN-based diplomacy is used to facilitate the mullocracy’s acquisition of nuclear weapons. Over the past week, both the Palestinians and the Iranians enjoyed strategic victories in their diplomatic campaigns.



Last Friday, the UN Human Rights Council passed a resolution condemning Israel in every possible way for asserting its sovereignty over its capital city and for defending its citizens against wanton, massive, unprovoked and illegal terror from the skies emanating from Hamas-controlled Gaza. The resolution represented a massive achievement for the Palestinians. It referred Israel to the Security Council with the recommendation that Israel’s leaders be tried as war criminals before international tribunals. That is, the UNHRC’s resolution effectively delegitimized Israel’s right to exist by denying that it has a right to defend its territory and its people from illegal aggression carried out by an illegal terrorist organization.



Then on Wednesday, Mohamed ElBaradei, the UN’s International Atomic Energy Agency’s virulently anti-Israel chairman, announced a deal has been reached between Iran and the US, Russia and France regarding Iran’s nuclear program. The deal – which the parties initialized in Geneva after just three days of talks – legitimizes Iran’s nuclear weapons program and effectively transforms the US, the EU and Russia into facilitators rather than opponents of that program.



According to news reports of the accord, the US agreed to send American personnel to Iran to upgrade a research reactor in Teheran that was provided to the Shah in the 1960s. Russia agreed to increase enrichment levels of Iranian uranium from their current level of 3.5 percent, to 19.75%. And France agreed to transform the higher-enriched uranium into metallic nuclear fuel.



Until Wednesday, in accordance with three binding UN Security Council resolutions, the US, Russia and the EU refused to accept the legitimacy of Iran’s uranium enrichment activities. Their refusal stemmed from the fact that by enriching uranium, Iran stands in breach of its commitments under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. Wednesday’s accord ignores this inconvenient fact and so whitewashes Iran’s illicit behavior, effectively accepting Iran’s right to enrich uranium.



And that isn’t all. According to Washington Post columnist David Ignatius, by agreeing to enrich Iran’s uranium from 3.5%, to 19.75%, the US, Russia and France have provided Iran with a solution to its technical deficiencies. Citing a report in the Nucleonics Week trade journal, Ignatius wrote last week that Iran has apparently been unable to enrich uranium beyond 3.5% and its current “supply of low-enriched uranium… appears to have certain ‘impurities’ that ‘could cause centrifuges to fail’ if the Iranians try to boost it to weapons grade.”



Jack Wakeland, an engineer employed in the nuclear power industry, expanded on Ignatius’s revelation at The Intellectual Activist Web site. Wakeland explained that the metallic fuel Iran will receive in this deal “can be converted back to highly purified uranium hexafluoride very, very easily.”



That is, the deal allows Iran to surmount the scientific hurdles it reportedly now faces, clearing the mullahs’ path to acquiring the weapons-grade uranium.



For their part, the Iranians haven’t wasted a moment pushing the diplomatic envelop still further. As the Americans, French and Russians were offering them more than they could have ever imagined possible – including the prospect of US personnel serving as human shields against a possible Israeli air strike on Iran’s nuclear installations – back in Teheran they ratcheted up their demands.



On Tuesday, Abdolfazl Zohrehvand, who serves as an adviser to Saeed Jalili, Iran’s chief negotiator at Geneva, told Iran’s IRNA press agency, “Circumstances may arise under which Iran will require uranium enriched to 63%.”



Then on Thursday Iran said it isn’t willing to accept a deal that would take all of its enriched uranium out of the country. This is not a deal breaker since the accord the US, France and Russia initialized Wednesday only foresees removing 80% of Iran’s known supply of enriched uranium to Russia. But still, it signals that the Iranians have only begun extracting concessions from the Americans and their partners.



And the Americans will no doubt be willing to concede still more. After all, now President Barack Obama can brag that he has an historic, Nobel Peace Prize-worthy deal with Iran. He cannot be expected to give it up just because the Iranians use it as a new path for building nuclear bombs.



Until Wednesday, Israel refrained from publicly attacking the US’s decision to seek an accommodation with Iran. This made sense. Israel had no interest in being perceived as pre-judging the outcome of a process on which the Obama administration staked its prestige. But now that the administration has agreed to an accord that effectively transforms America into a facilitator of Iran’s nuclear weapons program, the time has come for Israel to start voicing its objections.



Unlike the Palestinians and the Iranians, Israel has no great diplomatic assets. It can assume that it will always be condemned by the UN.



The EU, with its member-nations’ own anti-Jewish baggage, a burgeoning and radicalized Muslim minority, and an addiction to Arab oil cannot be expected to stand with Israel.



Western NGOs are largely funded by anti-Israel governments and leftist philanthropists and so use their resources to advance the causes of Israel’s enemies.



Under the Obama administration, the US is charting a diplomatic course that places it directly in the anti-Israel camp. Indeed, while the US voted against the UNHRC’s resolution against Israel last week, it made no significant effort to convince other countries to follow suit and had no problem with Britain’s and France’s decision not to cast a vote despite the dangerous precedent the Goldstone Report and the UNHRC’s resolution set for US forces fighting terrorist foes in Iraq, Afghanistan and throughout the world. Worse still, the US has refused to announce whether it will use its Security Council veto to block a referral of Israel’s military and political leaders to the International Criminal Court.



In the current climate, Israel’s diplomatic resources are limited to popular opinion in the US, and shared interests on specific issues with a number of governments throughout the world. In light of Israel’s diplomatic assets, Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, who in recent months has been travelling the globe to cultivate bilateral ties with countries in South America, Africa, Central Asia, and Central Europe, should be congratulated for his efforts.



On the public diplomacy front, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, his cabinet ministers and the Foreign Ministry should use every opportunity to discredit the latest deal with Iran. They should point out its dangers and call for an end to this diplomatic catastrophe before more damage is done to the cause of preventing Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. Such a campaign would proba
bly fail to derail the current talks. But if successful, it would prevent the deal from being used as a means to delegitimize Israel’s right to militarily strike Iran’s nuclear installations.



As for the Palestinians’ diplomatic triumph with the risible Goldstone Report and its attendant UNHRC resolution, Israel’s response to date has been misguided and self-defeating. This week, the government began considering forming a commission of inquiry into the IDF’s handling of Operation Cast Lead.



Judge Richard Goldstone has been claiming that if Israel conducts an investigation into his allegations that our soldiers committed war crimes and crimes against humanity, Israel can avoid prosecution of IDF personnel at the International Criminal Court. Lawyers like Attorney-General Menahem Mazuz have latched onto Goldstone’s statements and the media are atwitter with rumors that Netanyahu may agree to form such a commission.



That would be a wrong move for several reasons. First of all, Goldstone is in no position to negotiate. Once he submitted his libelous report to the UNHRC, Goldstone’s writ of authority was a thing of the past. Even if he now wants to get Israel off the hook he placed it on, he has no power to do so. And the officials at the UNHRC who gave Goldstone the mission of proclaiming that the IDF committed crimes against humanity have no interest whatsoever in crediting any internal Israeli investigation or ending the organization’s hounding of the Jewish state.



Beyond that, any investigation Israel could launch into the IDF’s conduct of Operation Cast Lead would be perceived internationally as an admission of guilt. If that commission were to conclude truthfully that the IDF conducted its operations in full accordance with international law, its findings would be dismissed as a whitewash.



In response to the UNHRC resolution and the Goldstone Report itself, the government announced this week that it will seek changes in international law to strengthen the ability of democracies to fight against terrorism. This move is also deeply misguided. The fact of the matter is that Israel did not break international law in Operation Cast Lead. It is simply the victim of its enemies’ cynical use of the rhetoric of international law as part of their diplomatic war against Israel. That is, the problem is not the law. It is the law’s distortion for political purposes by Israel’s diplomatically powerful foes. By announcing that it plans to work to change the law, the government missed this central point.



Moreover, by ignoring the fact that the problem is not with the law itself but rather with the distortion of international law by hostile actors for political gain, the government failed to recognize that even if it succeeds in changing the law, in all likelihood the new law will be similarly distorted by its enemies to advance their political war against Israel.



For that matter, the government’s very announcement that it wishes to change international law will be pounced upon by its enemies as proof that it broke the law.



Israel’s enemies are making adept use of their vast diplomatic power to advance their most important goals. Israel should use its meager diplomatic powers to do the same by going on a public diplomacy offensive against the criminalization of Israel and against the international community’s surrender to Iran. A good first step in that direction would be to stop using our limited powers in a manner that expands our enemies’ advantages over us.



Originally published in The Jerusalem Post.


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  • Marcel 10/23/2009 at 22:27

    This whole diplomatic effort to curb Iran is like watching an out of control train with Israel as the locomotive and no brakes headed for a brige that is no longer there.
    If you do something you will be blamed for the fallout,if you do nothing you will be the fallout.
    The crash is coming and it will be a big one,there is no avoiding this crash.
    Israel gets flayed with Goldstone because it chose to play the game of Lose with the International community.There is no win slot for Israel so don’t play their diplomacy game.

  • Marc Handelsman, USA 10/24/2009 at 1:40

    Prime Minister Netanyahu’s UN speech this month was a good first step in exposing the UN’s hypocrisy. Although his speech didn’t stop the UNHRC resolution, it did “plant some seeds.” Israel’s greatest weapon in the so-called diplomatic war is PM Netanyahu’s formidable English-speaking skills. Israel has a lot of goodwill among Americans, and it would be best to directly speak to them. As for Iran, it will cynically use the West to help speed up its nuclear weapons program. And Israel will be condemned for courageously destroying Iran’s nuclear sites.

  • Pops 10/24/2009 at 6:48

    Enough already, attack!

  • Ron Grandinetti 10/24/2009 at 19:10

    Caroline, I only wish there were two of you, one to continue to do what you do best and one to be the Chief Czar for the Israeli Prime Minister.
    All you have stated is no doubt a true reflection of what is going on out there and Israel has to adjust.
    First of all the UNHRC report is a farce and Israel should not play into it and we all know who’s side the UN is on. Forget the UN, this is a worthless and useless entity that should be shut down for all the good it does.
    Right now the Iranians, Russians along with other rouge nations are having a feast on this community organizing, acorn president. He is a real wimp and they will do him for as much as they can as he will be a one term president.
    I have mentioned a number of time and I hate beating a dead horse. Having said that, Israel needs to put the best PR program it can muster. I honestly believe a majority of Americans support Israel and unfortunately the liberal left media doesn’t get it done.
    American Jewish organizations need to get their act together and speak as one voice in support of Israel. Likewise, liberal American Jews need to wake up and start defending this small but giant democracy Israel. I am sure other Americans will get behind them.
    As I stated before, time for Israel to get tough. No more playing softball with Hamas and Hezbollah. If rockets rain in on Israel, the ADF has to take out their headquarters, cut the head off the snake.
    Likewise they should take out any Hezbollah installations along the southern border of Lebanon. This is a viable threat to Israel.
    Regardless of what others may say, suggest or think, Jerusalem is the capital of Israel, that is all of Jerusalem and that means taking charge of all security, deporting any Palestinian radicals.
    Sound harsh, not really it’s all about self-preservation.

  • DaveP 10/24/2009 at 19:12

    It is time to form a new world organisation that is eligible to nations that are genuinely democratic and respect human rights, which includes religious minorities, women, gays and any other.

  • David Custis Kimball 10/24/2009 at 22:26

    You can look to the scandals of ACORN, trying to eliminate FOX News from White House, the ignoring of the subversion of CAIR and its Muslim Brotherhood intentions into the everyday policies of Obama.
    But look at how the other News organizations supported FOX. I would look at immediately Counter suits against those admittedly implicated in the Goldstone piece, then Goldstone himself, then anyone supporting either one.
    You might give exclusives to FOX News and make enough noise so others would have to scramble after FOX.
    Issues as funding Hamas and so called infrastructure rebuilding when tunnels are the real goal should be highlighted. Access should be by military escort and protection and to the satisfaction of a real news organization, i.e. FOX. Exclude CNN and the rest of the money first and oil money best crowd.
    Rock em, then if legally maligned … Sock em.

  • charles soper 10/24/2009 at 23:59

    A crystal clear analysis of Iran and Baradei’s machinations. I don’t think Bibi’s ready or willing to strike though, and I doubt that will change. Israel needs to prepare for the horror of Iranian nukes in the hands of its proxies. I also still suspect America will get bitten first – Iran can’t move against its chosen targets in the gulf without crippling the US – and multiple anonymous strikes might succeed, others of course may truly get there first.
    Can you spell out the range of implications of the IRG, or even Hizbollah and Hamas having nuclear weapons?

  • Bill K. 10/25/2009 at 10:36

    Diplomatic power does not exist in a vacuum. There must be some real physical power behind it. How Iran and the Palestinian territories can have vast diplomatic powers when they are mostly just empty shells, devoid of any real military or economic power, does not make sense. Of course in that insane asylum, otherwise known as the U.N., the lunatics that shout the loudest might, at a fleeting glance, be regarded as the most powerful.
    In the real world the U.N. is powerless. It can pass resolutions from now until the end of time condemning Israel for a whole host of imagined transgressions and it will not mean a damn thing. Unless Israel lets them mean anything. This would be Israel’s real crime. The U.N. needs Israel to willingly submit to the will of the “international community” which in this instance means the will of the Iranians and the Palestinians and their leftist enablers. Of course these demands are totally outrageous and would mean the end of Israel.
    This is a completely black and white issue and no lengthy meditation is needed. Israel is a free country, politically and economically. The Palestinians and the Iranians are not free. They are totalitarian states. As a consequence they wage war on their neighbors, especially ones that have something to loot. Such as Israel. As the only purpose of a state is to protect the rights of its citizens from the predations of others, Israel has the right to use all necessary force to end these threats.
    The calls from the U. N. for Israel to surrender officers of its military for some sort of despicable show trials can be rejected out of hand as the ravings of madmen.

  • BigB 10/25/2009 at 13:40

    The source of diplomatic power exercised by Iran and proxies is Energy: Oil. Make oil irrelevant, you make Iran and proxies irrelevant so that no one cares how hard they are hit.
    Technology that will supplant oil-based economy and transportation is the number one priority of the free world and Israel in particular.
    Better Place Shai Agassi Kaplinski and Offer are leading the charge to make Oil irrelevant.
    Dr Yuval

  • Marcel 10/25/2009 at 16:13

    Au Revoir FRANCE !
    Israel is still looking to the West for help. After watching the video we can agree that it’s insane for Israel to look to the west,international community,diplomacy ?
    The threatening,torching,looting,Islamic rabble in the street dictate international policy which is directed against Israel out of fear.
    The west has capitulated to Islam and offers Israel up as their number 1 sacrifice.
    The secular fools of Israel aquiesce to national suicide to placate the darkness instead of running to the light, HaShem.
    Israel suffers under secular leadership which does not bode well for the immediate future as they follow the French model of appeasment.
    The end result of compromise,tolerance for evil always leads to the same place.
    When secular Jew Moshe Dayan handed over the Jewish Temple Mount to the defeated Islamic forces this act brought the opposite result as all goodwill gestures to evil produce.
    We learned nothing from Neville Chamberlain’s appeasment of evil.
    We never learn because we do not believe,hear or heed God’s word.
    We trust in our own stupidity and stupid leaders to lead us in the right direction instead of trusting in God. They have lead the West into the awaiting hellfires.

  • David Francis 10/26/2009 at 2:19

    America’s conduct here grieves me to the core. What Prime Minister Netanyahu is thinking, I have no idea. Also I have no idea the pressure he must be under everyday. Continue to pray for him. I hope he doesn’t succumb to the same “last daze” that have hypnotized the rest of the world. However, the iron is mixed with the clay (Daniel 2) and somehow those feet will tread Israel. Thankfully there no last days for Zion.

  • David C. 10/26/2009 at 6:35

    This column should be required reading for the entire American Jewish community — not to mention born-again, evangelical and pentecostal Christians who support Israel.
    When you consider the enormous pressure the NGOs, Iran and the Palestinians are able to exert upon the UN, plus the J Street crowd lobbying the U. S. Congress for the “two state solution” — its no wonder the voices of Israeli government officials get drowned out.
    It sure would be nice if we could forge a political alliance among devout Christians and Jews who support Israel in the United States.
    I know this might sound a bit far-fetched but the overwhelming majority of people in this country (the U.S.) simply do not know any of this because of the pathetic media coverage of all topics pertaining to Israel.
    Maybe if we could unite our efforts, we could bring some balance to bear upon both the UN, the administration (perhaps a lost cause) and members of Congress.

  • beniyyar 10/29/2009 at 13:22

    Before I moved to Israel, I really believed that Jews were smart, clever, intelligent, and able to think on their feet. But after almost three decades here and the sort of half baked leadership I have seen here, I have serious doubts about my earlier preconceptions.
    There is no reason why the Israeli Foreign Ministry and the Prime Ministers Office cannot react to these diplomatic attacks with facts coupled with vigorous attacks on the motives and the realities of the Arabs and others who smear and villify us.
    Certainly there is plenty of publicly available information available to show the world the duplicity of the Palestinians and the real human rights horror they have inflicted on their own people. I won’t even mention the murderous and fully documented atrocities routinely carried out by the Hamas regime in Gaza.
    Our Foreign Ministry is too busy whitewashing the really miserable and often illegal behavior of our enemies to mount a serious defence of Israel while at the same time making mincemeat of our detractors.
    The Prime Ministers Office seems indifferent to the inability of the Foreign Ministry to adequately do it’s job, even allowing our diplomats to express opinions at odds with Israeli diplomatic needs.
    Are Jews really as clever, smart, intelligent, and quick thinking as we would like to think we are and as our anti Semitic enemies would like to believe, or are at least Israeli Jews exceptionally unable to fill that bill?

  • CharlesMartel 11/02/2009 at 19:21

    The UN is performing in an utterly predictably despicable manner and now we may add America to the mix.
    America betrays its friends and makes futile and unwise attempts to befriend implacable enemies.
    Obama is more than a dismal failure as a president–he is a true danger to American safety.
    Iranian nuclear facilities must all be destroyed for the good of the world.
    And our “dithering” president will not help Israel as he should, so I can only urge Israel to forge ahead and protect herself.
    How much aid can an ally really expect from a country not supporting adequately its own soldiers on the field of battle?
    And what has an enemy to fear from the same?
    Break the shackles sooner rather than later,Israel.
    I am an American and a Christian and I am most embarrassed by the American president.

  • Admin2 11/03/2009 at 14:45

    Randall of Tokyo writes in response:
    The UN is performing in an utterly predictably despicable manner and now we may add America to the mix.
    America betrays its friends and makes futile and unwise attempts to befriend implacable enemies.
    Obama is more than a dismal failure as a president–he is a true danger to American safety.
    Iranian nuclear facilities must all be destroyed for the good of the world.
    And our “dithering” president will not help Israel as he should, so I can only urge Israel to forge ahead and protect herself.
    – How much aid can an ally expect from a country which does not support adequately its own soldiers on the field of battle?
    – And what has an enemy to fear from the same?
    – Break the shackles sooner rather than later,Israel.
    – I am an American and a Christian and I am most embarrassed by the American president.
    – Is this in any way something that is unacceptable?


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