Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Let’s Talk This Over

Maybe the President is finally growing up!
by Charlie Leck

Forgive me for not writing during this last week.
It's just gotten to be one of those really busy times
of the year. I'm working on an exciting book and,
as it moves closer and closer to its conclusion, I
get more and more involved in it.

Remember the loud cries of “foul!” They came out of the President’s oval office about a year ago when Democrats were starting to feel their oats and were campaigning on the principle that we should have negotiated a peace settlement in Iraq. They were also saying we should be involving Iran and Syria in talks about that region.

The President scoffed at the idea and there were even words like “unpatriotic” and “disloyal” being thrown around. Certainly, the GOP was saying that the Dems were nuts. Funny how an election loss will change things for the GOP!

Now we read that there is actually progress in the talk with Iran about their involvement in Iraq. Iran is making suggestions about how to get this thing over with. Syria is too! Naturally they’re asking for some favors. That’s the way international negotiations work. Some favors for Iran, years ago, would have been extremely cheap when considered in relation to what this war has cost us. Do you think that we don’t ask for favors when we’re negotiating with Poland?

Executive Administrations in Federal Government, in whichever party, have got to think harder about building strong teams with negotiation skills, teams that understand International Relations. We need stronger, wiser State Departments. There are a couple of remarkable small colleges that have programs specializing in this field and government should look to those schools for skilled help. They’re nearly unheard of, but they’re really outstanding in these areas: The University of Richmond and Washington and Lee University, both in Virginia.

Tom Friedman’s concept of a flat world is a given everywhere today. Nothing is more important than learning how to talk to each other – learning how to find out what our common goals are and working together to achieve those goals.

Suddenly the President has learned about this. Conversations are going strong in North Korea, China, Venezuela, and even in Mexico and Canada. Maybe the President is growing up.

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