It’s often said that diplomacy is the art of lying for one’s country, and that a skillful diplomat is one capable of fabricating credible lies. But lying has its limits, even for diplomats. Take Price Floyd, who until quite recently served as director of media affairs at Condoleezza Rice’s State Department. Today Floyd has a stunning op-ed piece in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, making essentially the same points that I made over the weekend in my speech in Florence:
We have eroded not only the good will of the post-9-11 days but also any residual appreciation from the countries we supported during the Cold War. This is due to several actions taken by the Bush administration, including pulling out of the Kyoto Protocol (environment), refusing to take part in the International Criminal Court (rule of law), and pulling out of the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty (arms control). The prisoner abuse scandal at Abu Ghraib and the continuing controversy over the detainees in Guantanamo also sullied the image of America.
Collectively, these actions have sent an unequivocal message: The U.S. does not want to be a collaborative partner. That is the policy we have been “selling” through our actions, which speak the loudest of all.
Floyd goes through a laundry list of the sorts of things needed to reverse these depressing developments. His analysis is spot on, and his prescription is extremely sensible – and highly unlikely to be followed until the Bush administration has decamped Washington.