Opinion / We The People

The Trick to Diplomacy – Two Cases


The trick of diplomacy is to look for common points.  This is true between nations and among individuals.  The problem arises when overlapping interests are perceived as few, or one party does not want to negotiate.  How do you break that nut?  It is hard.  You can walk away or work it.  More often, working it is the better course.

Two cases come to mind.  The first is Iran.  Iran is intent on building a nuclear weapon, as demonstrated by past and present enrichment of uranium to weapons grade, if nothing else.   Their internationally aggressive, internally repressive Islamic government has amassed hundreds of short- and medium-range ballistic missiles. 

Iran is a malefactor in the region, theologically possessed of a desire to forcibly expand its influence, raise havoc, disturb seeds of peace, sponsor anti-American, anti-Israeli, and anti-Sunni terrorism, support civil wars, and foment radical Islamic instability.  

Recent events are more than troubling.  They suggest Iran does not understand the stakes, does not want to understand the stakes, is spoiling for war or has backed itself into an untenable corner – and does not know how to get out.

The second case of collapsing diplomacy is closer to home.  Americans seem increasingly unable to talk with each other, understand that they share a common past, values and future.  We seem unable, or more accurately unwilling, to give ground in conversation, even to bring our fellow American closer to core truths.  We grow impatient with the impatience – and hotheadedness – of others.

Many of us – an estimated 250 million – are citizens of faith, 75 percent avowed Christians, others minority faiths.  Many of us are believers in limited government – which means smaller federal presence in our lives, lower taxes, less regulation. 

We step up for constitutional rights, untrammeled speech and unpunished association to free exercise of religion and petition for grievance.  We expect to be secure in homes and papers, not subject to warrantless search or seizure. 

We understand the right to confront and cross examine accusers, respect equality before the law, and the privacy of other citizens.  We boldly defend the right to keep and bear arms, even as we sit on juries and pay our taxes.  We also respect – and expect others to respect – citizenship, our borders and our veterans.  In short, we understand history – and how special America is.

All this gives rise to frustration – right here at home – when it seems others do not appreciate what we think of as common sense, common roots, and common values, the sort that made America what it is. 

Nothing in this column will solve modern frustrations, or not directly.  But timeless tricks of diplomacy help.  On Iran, we can hope President Trump’s “maximum pressure” campaign will lead Iran to realize developing a nuclear weapon is worse than senseless; it is existentially dangerous.

If Iran wakes up, they will come to the negotiating table.  Their future will be brighter if they do.  So will the world’s future.  If they do not, two other outcomes are likely – neither diplomatic.  One is that the West will destroy or nobble Iran’s ability to create a nuclear weapon; the other is the Iranian People will speak, changing their government. 

Closer to home, hope is higher for diplomacy.  If we can remember with one another that we are one people joined by profound ideals, we can get back to respect for each other, democracy, and liberty.  We can do that, even while we disagree. 

To get there, we must remember just who we are.  We are – funny enough – cut from one cloth.  We are not genetically alike but bound by high ideals.  We are beneficiaries of courage and foresight, must now show some of our own. 

We draw strength from individuality, and each other’s differences.  We cannot return to ordered liberty by tearing down beliefs of our fellow man.  We must ask them to respect ours, even as we respect theirs. Only in that way, are truth and comity found.  That is how America became the powerhouse we are.  We were impatient with ourselves, less with each other.

While not an American, Winston Churchill’s mother was American.  He was proud of that.  Maybe that is why, as he aged, he grew closer to America.  He thought we were exceptional, and we are.   He was the one who said: “It takes courage to stand up and speak; and it takes courage to sit down and listen.”  He learned to do both.  We can too.    

The trick of diplomacy is to look for common points.  This is true between nations and individuals.  The problem is that some nuts are hard to crack, common points hard to find.  We may not get there with Iran, but we can work on our diplomatic skills closer to home.   As “One Nation under God,” the beneficiaries of greatness before us, we owe this to each other.  

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Bo Dalton

We can thank Obama for creating this mess. His loyalties have never been for America, But, always for the Islam nations. This will quite possibly lead to the deaths of thousands of innocent people.

David Keyston

Well said. Mirrors my view exactly. Would that all Americans were astutely concerned and literate about their own history, but then we digress into the educational system, which has been taken over by liberal agendas for decades.

Morty Tupperman

Persians, AKA Iranians, are a proud people with a very long and rich history. The problems dealing with them are several fold – their pride, their Islamic “glory in death” eschatology and their need for power and prestige – just to name a very few. DJT recognizes that throwing money at them didn’t work and a “feet to the fire” approach does. Iran’s economy is in shambles. If not for the repressive Revolutionary Guard, their people would have driven the mullahs out of power. I pray that it does NOT take an all-out war in the Middle East to end this, but I fear that it is what the mullahs want. Hopefully, Secretary of State Pompeo can lead the diplomatic effort and succeed in talking Iran’s leaders off the edge of a very tall building.


In neither case is there common ground. Iran seeks eternal glory in the destruction of israel. I recently spoke with a persian lady who immigrated here in 1978. I asked about israel. I didnt get aclear answer as to where the antipathy comes from. It really doesnt matter. What matters is that the people there who hold the reigns of power are intent on genocide and ultimately a caliphate with them in charge. What matters domestically is that our lefties are intent on our whole country going socialist. We could adopt a’live and let live’ attitude if they were simply setting up communes for themselves. Instead, they are demanding that all of us submit to them. There simply is no common ground with the communist movement. It must be utterly defeated the way hitler was. If not, we become Venezuela, quickly.

Brenda Blunt

USA is the best place to live. If people don’t like it here, they should leave. Americans are courageous, strong, and do what is right. Many people would prefer otherwise, then you should not reap the benefits of others doing what is right!! Go USA!

Jay Goldstein

Mr. Charles: Excellent article, with two good examples, tied together by Churchill’s superb quote.

Stephen Russell

We cant talk to others of another mindset since THEY wont listen or share just yell, scream & dictate & they have a Losing history base to rely on.
Why waste time talking to leftists, Narrow minds to the max.
Iran U can maybe talk 2.
But radical Islam may have them 2.
Im tried of the Leftist rants & raves, & hope they lose 2020.
Its on THEM for 2020.
Need more Cory Lewondowskis, Allen Wests, Jim Jordans etc in State, Local & Fed Govts.
Or nothing gets done
Love to see AMAC buy out AARP

The OLD Warhorse

Not sure you can reason with the hard left. Many of these folks are quite young and we, their parents and grand-parents have allowed the institutions of mass media and academe to influence, nay, brainwash our kids and their kids into believing that this country is the root of all evil. We had slavery! No mention of slavery around the world and throughout history and even going on today; just, we’re bad because we had it. We pollute! No mention of the fact that we pollute less per capita than almost anybody else; we’re bad because we do it and can only be forgiven of our sins by giving total control of our lives over to AOC and company. How does one reason with another that believes WE are the root of all evil?

William Urtel

I sincerely doubt that you have ever ever read the Quran. I urge you to obtain a copy and read it before commenting further on the Mohammed inspired cult. My copy is “Quran in English” translated by Talal Itani.
Amazon sells it far around five dollars. If you do that you will realize as many before you have, that you cannot negotiate with someone who can tell any lie and commit any crime including murder and still get into heaven.

Doni Juarez

As I see it, the problem with this line: “Americans seem increasingly unable to talk with each other, understand that they share a common past, values and future.” is that the liberals do not want anything to do with our common past and especially not with our values. They detest every bit of our past and completely reject our values. Personally, I see a better likelihood of Iran coming to the table than I do of the liberals coming to the table… and I don’t see Iran doing anything of the sort! This is very sad.


Good thoughts. No solutions


Poster in ESL public schools now. Top – In this classroom WE BELIEVE – Fist rising up picture with Black Lives Matter, LOVE is love with a heart, Science is real (the Climate Change BS like our world and climate has never changed before – except the thousands of times it already has), A Female icon with FEMINISM is for everyone, the Statue of Liberty with HUMANS, are not illegal and KINDNESS is everything. Got to brainwash them early so they can get all those future illegal votes.

Hal Lemoyne

Let talk about hotheadedness intolerance do WE US negotiate with terrorists regardless how hotheaded they get? ——— NO, unless WE US had another muslim terrorist president like obama and his demoncratic party whom are still terrorists in our US Lawmaking powers because aren’t US citizens and muslims aren’t US citizens, 1st they’s have to be human and the demoncratic party members aren’t human NOW iran and they rest of the islamic countries whom shouldn’t real estate whatever are demanding human & sovereigny rights they have no right to have globally Us US mustn’t try to ever acknowledge any muslim country as human & sovereign right whatsoever I am intolerant of terrorist murderers and all participate in their terrorists successes as I look at all who terrorize at the pleasure of watching innocent people being scared for their lives helplessly and the hotheadedness of an intolerable terrorists need to be immediately… Read more »

Tim Tengesdal

Trust, I would think, is also a key element of a successful negotiation.

A. Shipp

I am 81 years old and pray that all the world may come to their senses. If not may GOD bless us all.

Rob Curry

Makes a lot of sense! AMEN!

Donald Warmus

If only AMAC subscribed to the wisdom of this article I would still be a member. You said someone would be in touch with me, but instead you arbitrarily “settled” our differences by misrepresenting my position yourselves and saying you were me. SHAME ON YOU AMAC>