Is effective diplomacy dead?

Published: Tuesday, Jan. 22 2013 4:50 p.m. MST

Our take: Interesting commentary from New York Times columnist Roger Cohen stating that effective diplomacy, the kind that produces breakthroughs in the international arena, is dead. He also suggests a few ways to bring it back.

Diplomacy is dead.

Effective diplomacy — the kind that produced Nixon’s breakthrough with China, an end to the Cold War on American terms, or the Dayton peace accord in Bosnia — requires patience, persistence, empathy, discretion, boldness and a willingness to talk to the enemy.

This is an age of impatience, changeableness, palaver, small-mindedness and an unwillingness to talk to bad guys. Human rights are in fashion, a good thing of course, but the space for realist statesmanship of the kind that produced the Bosnian peace in 1995 has diminished. The late Richard Holbrooke’s realpolitik was not for the squeamish.

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