March 29th, 2008

Chris Keeley

Blooming of the cherry trees around the Tidal Basin in Washington, D.C. Photographs 1

Blooming of the cherry trees around the Tidal Basin in Washington, D.C. Photographs 1

Blooming of the cherry trees around the Tidal Basin in Washington, D.C. Photographs 1


25 - Blooming of the cherry trees around the Tidal Basin in Washington, D.C. Photographs 1

All Photographs + Text Copyright 2008 Christopher Keeley


Chris Keeley

letter to the editor

TO: Distinguished Recipients
FM: John Whitbeck
Transmitted below is a letter to the editor which I submitted several days ago to the INTERNATIONAL HERALD TRIBUNE -- in response to a letter which they had published from Abe Foxman, longtime leading light of The Lobby and Imperial Grand Dragon of its Thought Police.
Remarkably, the IHT has resisted the urge to publish it.
TO: Letters to the Editor
RE: Letter to the Editor from Abraham Foxman (IHT, March 26)
Abraham Foxman writes that "the critical stumbling block to peace is Palestinian rejection of the legitimate right of the Jewish people to a state" and that "the focus must be on the need for true Palestinian acceptance of Israel. When this happens, all else is possible."
Mr. Foxman is clearly entitled to believe that racial-supremicist, settler-colonial states founded on the ethnic cleansing of indigenous populations are wonderful and deserve to be legitimized and perpetuated -- at least when the ethnic cleansing is carried out by people like him. He is also entitled to make a career out of trying to convince others to share his belief -- or at least not to dare to publicly question it.
However, can Mr. Foxman -- or anyone else -- really believe that those who have been ethnically cleansed could ever be convinced to share his belief?
Perhaps the focus should instead be on the need for true Israeli acceptance that what they have done to the Palestinian people is morally and ethically indefensible and for Israeli willingness to make amends by offering to accept a single democratic state in all of Mandatory Palestine, free of any form of discrimination based on race or religion and with equal rights for all who live there. When this happens, peace will be possible.
John V. Whitbeck
Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
Chris Keeley

Chas Freeman, "Why Not Try Diplomacy"

Note: This lecture, or speech, by retired Ambassador Chas Freeman, is easily the most important item I have circulated this year, or last year, for that matter. It shows his usual eloquence, skillful analysis, pointed relevance, broad coverage, and good humor, all the while telling us how far we have gone wrong. I commend it to your reading and further distribution to your colleagues and friends. Bob Keeley

Why Not Try Diplomacy?
Remarks to the University Continuing Education Association
March 28, 2008, New Orleans, Louisiana
Ambassador Chas W. Freeman, Jr. (USFS, Ret.)

I want to speak to you this afternoon about diplomacy as an element of statecraft.  By now most Americans recognize that we are in a bit of trouble both at home and abroad.  What is to be done?  Is diplomacy a better answer than the use of force?

The late Arthur Goldberg, who was both a Justice of our Supreme Court and Ambassador to the United Nations, observed that "diplomats approach every issue with an open ... mouth."  A colleague and friend of mine, who served as Ambassador to China, once told me that "a diplomat is someone who thinks twice – before saying nothing."  They set a high bar for a public speaker on diplomacy as an alternative to militarism, but I am willing to attempt it.

Americans believe in military power, and the United States has never spent so much on it.  Internationally, given our diminished political standing and the collapse of the dollar, military prowess may be our only remaining comparative advantage.  We certainly behave as though we think it is.

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