Thursday, November 09, 2023

Alden Pyle

I always come back to The Quiet American (published 1955) because it's a useful and I think shockingly accurate view of the thinking inside The Blob. I first read it in the aughts and, while it resonated for various reasons, it wasn't actually a good portrayal of the Bush-era neoconservatives (not that it was meant to be!). More Samantha Power than Doug Feith.

It isn't my world so I don't claim to have that great a sense of all the personalities it, but hopefully some day "we" figure out just which briefcase wankers in the Biden administration decided that the Kushner-Netanyahu Middle East Peace Plan was an amazingly great idea, and why.

How's it working out, Bret.
First principle is partnerships. The United States will support and strengthen partnerships with countries that subscribe to the rules-based international order, and we will make sure that those countries can defend themselves against foreign threats. Partnerships guides everything we do.

The second principle is deterrence. The United States will not allow foreign or regional powers to jeopardize freedom of navigation through the Middle East waterways, including the Strait of Hormuz, Bab al Mandab, nor tolerate efforts by any country to dominate another or the region through military buildups, incursions, or threats.

The third principle is diplomacy. We will not just aim to deter threats to regional stability, we will work to reduce tensions wherever we can, to de-escalate, and end conflicts wherever possible through diplomacy.

Fourth and importantly, and I think again, the spirit of the Hariri Center and the Atlantic Council, is integration. We are working to build political, economic, security connections between US partners, wherever possible, while respecting each country’s sovereignty and independent choices.

And the fifth principle is important to any American diplomat, and it’s values. And I think this also speaks to the life and principles of Rafik Hariri. But we will always promote human rights and the values enshrined in the UN Charter. And these principles—partnerships, deterrence, diplomacy, integration, and values—they’re not slogans. They are mutually reinforcing elements of national policy that is delivering results, even in the face of significant risk and uncertainty.