The Lost Art of Diplomacy
As I sit and watch the news with every meal I eat I am amazed at the headlines that pop up on the news and the subtle message they carry.
The problem is that the headlines expose everything the US says it plans to do. Russian invades Crimea, so the US government openly states that it will sanction Russian businesses, or cancel visas, and not commit militarily and so on and so on.
200 Nigerian school girls are kidnapped and the US says it will help to recover them.
There is no value in your opponent knowing your plan, so why do we it. If we say something then Russia or Boko Haram can plan accordingly. Sure sometimes saying things publicly can be used to put fear into an opponent by displaying your commitment or seriousness, but by laying out what you are and are not willing to do puts all your cards on the table and you’re stuck at that point.
Maybe I read World War Two history books and see the sense and value in keeping things secret. Like the ULTRA code breakers at Bletchley Park in England who knew much of what the Nazis were going to do but chose not to act on it because doing so would reveal to the Nazis that the code was broken which would let them create a new one.
So you see, by not opening one’s mouth a nation can keep more options open to itself and thus have more options to choose from when it comes time to make a decision. Diplomacy is a lost art these days because everyone is so eager to get credit for their half-assed commitment that they make it harder to actually achieve success.
Additionally it also harder to have options open if, as a nation, we are becoming bigger and bigger sissies who are unwilling to commit to anything or take a principled stand.