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Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Case In Point: The Dangers of Shadow Diplomacy

When Nancy Pelosi met with Bashar Assad in 2007 in a mission she created all on her own, she was rightfully condemned by anyone with any sense of geopolitics. In a move of stunning hubris, Pelosi thought she could on her own broker a deal for some sort of peace between Syria and its enemies, namely Israel. Even though both the Israelis themselves and the Bush administration strongly encouraged her not to go, Pelosi met with Assad anyway. Photos of Pelosi and Assad sitting side by side were used by Assad for propaganda purposes and Pelosi was able to accomplish absolutely nothing of substance besides giving the dictator a great photo op.

Yesterday, a seven member Congressional delegation met with both Castro brothers in Cuba in defiance of at least the spirit if not the letter of a half century ban and travel embargo. Fidel Castro pronounced that the members told him that American society continues to be racist and that U.S. foreign policy toward Cuba continues to be a failure. No one from the delegation has disputed the characterization made by Castro.

So, how did the delegation describe the meetings?

The Castro government is interested in talking to the United States, a delegation of black members of Congress said Tuesday, returning from a five-day trip to Cuba where they met with Raul and Fidel Castro.

We didn’t get into any of the details,” said caucus chairwoman Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Calif., who led the trip. “We just want to see a dialogue. You don’t have to offer anything to talk.”

It’s time to talk to Cuba,” Lee said. “We are convinced, based on the meetings, that the Cubans do want dialogue, they do want talks and they do want normal relations with the United States of America, and I believe it’s in the United States’ best interest to do that.”

So, in one fell swoop, these folks allowed a vicious dictator to characterize the U.S. as both "racist" and having a failed policy toward that country. Furthermore, the delegation also allowed Cuba's dictators to be characterized as folks ready to talk and dialogue. There was no mention of human rights abuses and imprisonment of political dissidents. The delegation allowed the Castros to characterize the U.S. as the bad guys at the same time they also allowed Cuba to characterize itself as a country ready for peace and dialogue.

To say that this group is nothing more than a bunch of useful idiots is to insult useful idiots.


Anonymous said...

Oh come off it, Mike. Every congressman at some point or another has tried to pursue their own agenda overseas. But in this case you come down hard on a group of House members who more or less are advocating some form of detente that has essentially been endorsed by Obama.

Anonymous said...

??? I searched for An Update on Dr. Andrew Agwunobi and MSN Live Search brought me to some article about Diplomacy? Do you manage this site, and where do you get your info?

mike volpe said...

I manage this site but I don't manage any search engines. If you have a problem with the exactness of your search on Agwunobi, that is something to take up with the search engine, not me.

I did a lot of research on the multiple scandals surrounding Grady Hospital. Dr. Agwunobi happened to be CEO there in one of many critical periods.

Much of the information that I found is available online like those relating to hospital grades by JCOHA. I have also spoken with people that worked with him. I also collaborated on information with other bloggers that followed his case. I stand by everything I wrote about him. For those not following here is the most recent piece I had on Agwunobi.

Anonymous said...

I agree that there should have been at least SOME talk of human rights violations during this recent trip--especially since there are still numerous people locked up in Cuban prisons or worse thanks to Fidel. The fact that Fidel still leads quite a large percentage of Communist followers in the country seems like reason enough to be beyond cautious. Yet, there are also some very justified reasons for wanting to discuss an embargo removal--one such case is for the working/poverty-stricken Cuban citizens. Without trade and a more democratic country (which is, obviously, in Raul's hands as well), these peoples' lives will most likely not improve anytime in the near future. I watched an interesting video on some of these issues at today. It's worth checking out: