This morning on the Today Show, White House Press Secretary Tony Snow argued that “nobody has been more diplomatically active than we have” in the Middle East, citing all the phone calls White House officials have made in recent days:
Real diplomacy requires more than just phone calls. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger famously went to the region and used “shuttle diplomacy” — meeting repeatedly with each party — to negotiate “disengagement agreements between Israel, Syria, and Egypt” following the 1973 Yom Kippur War. Similarly, in 1996, Secretary of State Warren Christopher spent “seven days shuttling between Damascus and Jerusalem” and successfully negotiated a “truce between Israel and Hezbollah guerrillas.” President Bill Clinton visited Israel in the midst of the 1996 terrorist attacks by Hamas to show U.S. support.
In contrast, the Bush administration has taken a “hands off approach,” and has derided diplomatic efforts as “naive and ineffectual.” Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice will finally visit the region next week, but has rejected calls to press for a cease-fire.
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