Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Bye bye Sunshine

Kim. Albright. "I am so happy I won't have to destroy you until the next govenment takes over!" "Me too!"

People say politicians love war. That’s probably true. But I have no doubt in my mind that politicians love diplomacy even more.

This should be obvious. There is much more money in diplomacy. Think about all the give it and take deals that were made in name of diplomatic efforts, especially in limit situations. It is all very logical: war costs a lot, especially if you lose. If there is a chance that two governments can settle a dispute by exchanging favors that end up costing less, it’s a done deal. Pure game theory.

Besides the monetary aspect, there’s also the obvious popular appeal. We the people love peace. We love even more peace makers! Think about Clinton walking out of Camp David with the Palestinians and Israelis. Man that felt great.

Actually, I can’t think of any immediate down side in any type of appeasement. It’s all good: You are good; the other side is good, let’s smoke the peace pipe and cash those checks.

The only flaw is that on the long term, problems have this annoying tendency of coming back. If it ain’t broken, why the hell would anyone fix it?

The US has tried for almost 10 years to appease North Korea at unimaginable levels. South Korea’s Sunshine policy went even farther. Both groups justified these deals based on the fact that they were “cheaper” than the alternatives. I can’t argue with that.

Now, the problem is still there. Only bigger and nastier. What do we do now? Have we reached the point of diminishing returns of appeasement? Is the price we have to pay now worth the postponed period we got?

Can we at least ask our money back?