Common-Sense Diplomacy

atlas-woman

Had an interesting dream last night. I was a Counter-Terrorist Diplomatic Consultant for some alphabet agency and we were meeting in a ‘situation’ room to discuss the latest hot ‘threat’ and what to do about it.  In this case, it was a Native American man that had just been released from prison that he felt he had been unjustly incarcerated in, he had incendiary devices and guns and was planning to do something at a specific location, according to intel.

So there were all these highly-educated, highly-trained (and highly-paid) agents making a plan, and the best they could come up with was getting a SWAT team down there to take the man out. (as in demised, not out on a date)

Frankly, I was gobsmacked by this ‘genius’ idea and spoke up: “Uh…did anyone even begin to consider just sending someone in, unarmed to have a talk with the fella? Giving him a good listen and letting him vent, get whatever’s bothering him off his chest? Finding out if maybe he had a legitimate grievance and working out a plan with him to address or fix it, if so?”

Nope. Never crossed their minds.

“It’s too risky!” they bleated fearfully.

Cue massive eye-roll here.

“Uh-huh, and that’s why you have me here. I’ll do it. Give me a few minutes to assemble my own team and we’ll get to work. The rest of you stay back and stay quiet, and under no circumstances is ANYONE to do anything even vaguely threatening! Got it?!”

So then I assembled my team, which seemed to consist of a racially-diverse small group of guys in superhero spandex outfits. Our newbie member was very excited about his green satin cape.

Well, the Native American was also pretty impressed by the cape and touched that we were actually trying to listen to him so he vented his heart out and my team agreed to help him address his grievances and see that true justice was done and then we invited him to join our team.  We strolled out of the building with him, strolled on by the police perimeter, amiably chatting with each other as that alphabet agency had its collective jaw hitting the ground.

Mission accomplished. 😀

Then the dream switched to another scenario.

Kitchen-Talks-Japanese-Tea-Ceremony-1

This time I was called in because our country had done something nasty to Japan and Japan had just found out about it and were planning to declare war, and our country had decided to do a pre-emptive strike. My opinion was asked on the best way to go about doing that.

As in the first part of the dream, I was absolutely stunned by this monumental show of collective idiocy.

“Uh…did anyone even begin to consider just sending someone in, unarmed to to their Embassy to have a talk with them? Give them a good listen and let them vent, get whatever’s bothering them off their chest? If they have a legitimate grievance – which in this case they do – maybe work out a plan with them to address or fix it?”

Oh, it’s too risky, it might incite them to…war…which they were already incited to…hmm.  Oh, and our country would lose face if we actually admitted we’d done something wrong, and trying to apologize would be as good as admitting we’d done something wrong, they might ask for reparations or something. The excuses for avoiding responsibility went on and on.

“Tough cookies, folks, we did wrong and we’re going to suck it up and give them a chance to vent about it and then we’re going to apologize sincerely and do our best to make it up to them!”

So I got all dressed up (no superhero spandex this time) and party-crashed a fancy shindig that was being held at the embassy with a team of unarmed diplomatic agents.  The Japanese government reps were well aware that we were there but everyone was ignoring us, no eye-contact, as if we didn’t exist.  Some agents complained to me that they couldn’t get any of the Japanese contingent to even talk to them, so how could they get anything accomplished here?

I told them that if we got angry over being cold-shouldered, or tried to push the matter, they could justify that we’d acted first to start a war (as if our original crime against them wasn’t enough already) and they were in the clear about responding with force.

“Ok, let them humiliate, embarrass, ignore and shun us to their hearts content, it might make them feel better. We’re not going to whine about it or print any retaliatory stories in the media, we’re going to take it and show sympathy and remorse for what they’re going through – we’re going to put THEIR feelings first!”  So that’s what we did, giving the Japanese ample opportunity to snicker at us being ignored.

The next day, I went back to the embassy with a couple other agents to apologize and hear the Japanese reps out. They vented quite a bit and we admitted our government had been in the wrong and asked what they wanted in the way of reparations.  They were stunned. They’d expected us to respond with threats of world war and other retaliations to pre-emptively strike at them, not us showing up apologetic and taking responsibility to make things right when we’d done wrong.

They said they wanted a public unconditional apology printed in the media, and for us to send people over to Japan to repair any damage done to their infrastructure by our actions and to pay any bills for folks that had gotten hurt.  We agreed and war was averted.

Mission accomplished.

The guys back at the alphabet agency were shocked that my plan had worked and that we’d avoided world war so “simply”.

Wow. SMH sooooo much!

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