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Sunday, October 18, 2009

Obama's 'cookie philosophy'

The Obama administration decided over the weekend to 'engage' with Sudan, one of the biggest human rights violators in the world, and the country that is leading the charge to use the Goldstone Report against Israel. The new policy is to be announced on Monday.

I know that many of you are probably wondering why the United States is 'engaging' every repressive regime in the world. Barry Rubin has discovered the answer and it will warm the cockles of a monster's heart. It's called the 'cookie philosophy.'
This is justified, however, by what might well be called the administration’s “cookie” philosophy. This was expressed by retired Major General J. Scott Gration, who has been handling U.S. policy toward Sudan. The former general, who has no previous diplomatic experience—something he has in common with the president—explained, "We've got to think about giving out cookies,’ said Gration. `Kids, countries--they react to gold stars, smiley faces, handshakes, agreements, talk, engagement."
Of course, the problem is that when you give a child a cookie for behaving badly, he just behaves worse.
No, that’s not how things work. Reality is better expressed by a Sudanese dissident who said that U.S. rapprochement with the regime will give it confidence to crack down all the harder and, I might add, be more aggressive abroad. That’s precisely, by the way, the effect of the policy on Iran and elsewhere.

So how does the administration guard against such an outcome? It warns that the violence and humanitarian abuses must stop. But a verbal warning from a government eager to renounce toughness and eager to forget all trespasses against U.S. interests is not exactly credible.
No, it's not credible at all. Especially when - as in Iran - the government does nothing to back to up its warnings.

What could go wrong?


At 10:05 PM, Blogger NormanF said...

The idea bad people will reform themselves without discipline or punishment is a naive and childish notion. It doesn't work in the real world.

Why should it work in international affairs?

Hopenchange, any one?


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