There are those who might say that international relations have no morality, and that all conduct passes for diplomacy. It is a messy world and some believe threats of force and violence are often sufficient to get one’s way. The fantasy of using power as a threat to conform has been the pantomime dance used most often since World War II ended.
But what happens when the threats are no longer believable? When the most powerful player in the world is discounted? And when the competition does as it wants — troops and all — whenever and wherever it wants? What do you do then? What’s the next move after you say “or else?” Or that there will be consequences or world leaders must abdicate their offices or the world won’t tolerate certain behaviors, when in fact, the world has tolerated murder, genocide, and barbarism since Cain and Abel?
We see the leader of the world’s best hope for decency, the president of the United States, Barack Obama, warn of consequences for actions he deems dangerous and the recipients of his threats sneer, laugh, and continue as they wish.
Russian President Vladimir Putin understandably has invaded Crimea. He wants to protect his sphere of influence and his nuclear fleet. Quite simply, he knows the leader of the free world is a captive of rhetoric and inaction. He also knows by assisting Iran’s nuclear program, if true, he keeps the Americans busy. Putin also knows that by checkmating the Americans in Syria, the morality of American power is mortally wounded so long as Obama remains in the Oval Office.
And then there is Israel — a nation that took on Soviet Russian MiGs over Syria in 1982 and took 100 war planes down without losing a fighter. This little nation is the one that saved the world by destroying nuclear reactors in Iraq and in Syria. This is the nation stopping terrorist organizations supported by Russian clients from spreading biological weapons to the next group of killers.
So what does the great leader of the world and Secretary of State John Kerry do in response to those heroic and extraordinary acts? They tell the Israelis to do as the president and the secretary of state wish, or else. Make peace our way, the American says. Or else.
Or else what?
No one here is saying go to war. What is being said is the way to avoid war is by keeping commitments, staying loyal to our friends, and using force in the most moral sense — protecting the less fortunate, those oppressed and those whom we promise to stand with.
If the world survives it will not be because “or else” is an operative phrase. It will be because the morality of this great nation is restored in our diplomacy. We will stand with our friends and for what is right. That’s the American way. It is why so many boys lie in the graves overlooking Omaha Beach in Normandy.
To say otherwise is a lie. Just as great a lie as telling the gangsters of the world that there will be consequences, when you know in fact, that there will be no consequences whatsoever. None.
Hank Sheinkopf is an early creator of integrated strategic campaigns using all forms of media and has won national and international awards for his radio and TV productions. He is a veteran of more than 700 political, public policy, and public relations campaigns around the world. Read more reports from Hank Sheinkopf — Click Here Now.
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