Monday, May 12, 2008

Diplomacy

Imagine it. Not even eight o’clock and your kid is already down for the night. While your friends suit up for another night cruising the Portland music scene, or better yet, poring over the latest edition of The Times (New York or LA, take your pick), you are there, at your table, pondering your role in conflict resolution. She’d been tired. That was apparent. But when she reached across the table to do something you’d asked her two times already not to do, should your role have been dictator, or dogged diplomat? How many times is too many times to lay on the sugartalk, asking someone to stop piling just one ingredient on their taco? When does the raised voice come in? How long til the taking-away of the attractive ingredient? And why does it really matter?

I have no clue if the way I go about things is in any way right. Perhaps my sociopolitical breeding just kicks in. But the problems I have at this round table are the problems people big and little are facing, the world round. It’s a funny polarity to live in – at work writing stories about the US commanding Iran to stop their nuclear program, and coming home to demand someone like the dinner I cooked them, (on an electric stove, powered by nukes) or else.

The protocol in both of these situations: sweetish requests, then impatient demands, then disgusted sanctions, then someone goes down.

So now the girl is in bed. She went there without dinner, because she fussed so hard about wanting more soy taco filling on her taco that she never managed to calm down enough to actually eat what she had taken in the first place. Meanwhile, IAEA investigators, not allowed in to see for themselves, say Iran is making more nukes than are needed for an energy program. The Iranians hold tight to their soy taco filling, using Israel as a bargaining chip.

Requests. Demands. Sanctions. Then someone goes down.

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