Monday, July 31, 2006

Diplomacy in action (Not a parody)

From a Ha'aretz article (via Ami Isseroff):
Iran is a significant, respected player in the Middle East which is playing a stabilizing role, French Foreign Minister Philippe Douste-Blazy said Monday,during a visit to Lebanon.

"It was clear that we could never accept a destabilization of Lebanon, which could lead to a destabilization of the region," Douste-Blazy said in Beirut.

"In the region there is of course a country such as Iran - a great country, a great people and a great civilization which is respected and which plays a stabilizing role in the region," he told a news conference.
No one expects precise factual accuracy, or even plausibility, or even the appearance of honesty from diplomats in such circumstances. But this is unusually breathtaking bit of malarkey, almost sublime in its own way (and, apparently, not a parody from the Onion).

In the real world, of course, Iran has poured billions of dollars and other resources into Hezbollah over the decades, has provided Hezbollah's stockpile of over 10,000 missiles, undoubtedly gave Hezbollah the green light for its latest provocation--and, overall, is clearly committed to playing a destabilizing role both in Lebanon and in the Middle East more generally. But aside from that, I suppose....

--Jeff Weintraub

P.S. And we can't just say, "Well, that's the French. They have no shame in these matters"--though that would be true, of course. Everyone does it. Like it or not, this is the world of international diplomacy.

P.P.S. When French diplomats are accidentally caught saying what they really think (which is not always the same as telling the truth), the results are often no better. As Ami Isseroff couldn't help observing, whereas Iran is "a significant, respected player in the Middle East which is playing a stabilizing role," Israel is "that shitty little country." Well, you can't please everyone.