Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Negroponte in Ecuador

I’d like to be a fly on the wall when Rafael Correa and John Negroponte chat on Wednesday. Negroponte is also going to Colombia, Panama, and Peru. According to the State Department press release, “Deputy Secretary Negroponte will also highlight the President's commitment to advance the cause of social justice in the Western Hemisphere.” The ironies and contradictions of this claim, especially when transmitted by John Negroponte, are too many to mention.

Nonetheless, I don’t care so much why he’s going, or what he’ll claim. More important is that the U.S. government is willing to visit a country whose president has been very critical and who has enacted policies (most notably the end of the Manta air base lease) that the Bush administration doesn’t like. Even just the appearance of engagement is an improvement (at this point, the bar is pretty low).

I do wish, though, that the government would send someone other than Negroponte.


Anonymous,  3:33 PM  

What's wrong with Negroponte? Would you rather they sent John Bolton?

Greg Weeks 3:42 PM  

If Bolton and Oliver North were unavailable, then maybe I'd pick Negroponte. Or shoot, just send Henry Kissinger on a good will mission.

Anonymous,  4:57 PM  

Henry Kissinger did more to defend the rights of individual citizens than any other diplomat in the past 50 years, American or otherwise. If we include the 1.2 billion Chinese and the 15 million Chileans who enjoy liberty and freedom (notwithstanding the Chinese filters of those liberties), that is a good start. Add to that list helping to end the Vietnam War, the 1973 Yom Kippur War, and paving the way for the 1979 Camp David Accords. Don't forget that he also won a Nobel Peace Prize in the 1970s.

If Kissinger had been born in the USA he would have been elected President in 1980 instead of Ronald Reagan. If they ever rescind the 25th Amendment to the US Constitution, we might actually elect a native German speaker to the White House after all. Except that instead of a foreign policy expert, this German speaker will have once starred in films with Richard Dawson and Jesse Ventura.

Greg Weeks 5:05 PM  

Mike. Read some basic political history and then come back.

Anonymous,  5:26 PM  

I have read plenty. To put Kissinger in the same bucket as Bolton, Negroponte, or any other Bush lemming (with the possible exception of Powell) is an insult to Kissinger. He defended American interests in a way that the Bush White House can't possibly duplicate, and did so in an environment where Communism was a threat to our existence. In 1975 no one knew that Russia would collapse 15 years later. It was a real threat, and Kissinger dealt with that threat while still maintaining relative peace.

Greg Weeks 5:44 PM  

If by "defend American interests" you mean "encourage governments to kill people for no reason," then you're right. Check out Peter Kornbluh's book on Chile and the National Security Archive's declassified documents in general before touting Kissinger in Latin America.

Anonymous,  2:34 PM  

an insult to Kissinger

Kissinger deserves nothing but insults--and perhaps a stint in prison. In addition to Kornbluh, Christopher Hitchens makes a pretty compelling argument about Kissinger's complicity in murder and war crimes in "The Trial of Henry Kissinger."

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