Saturday, February 21, 2009
Thirty years ago, when discussing events of less than 30 years in the past, it was stressed to me that particularly in regards to East Asia it would help if an American Secretary of State knew when to say either the whole truth, meaning here something like this,
"We care deeply about many things and we believe not only that we are right on these issues but that acting in accord with these democratic and humane principles are in every nations interest for a host of reasons including but emphatically not confined to the long term financial health that all forms of freedom fosters. Specific topics will be shared between us in privacy during a full and frank exchange of views based on mutual respect."
or when to say nothing forcefully as in,
"Sorry but I don't want to talk about that now."
Famously Dean Acheson at the National Press Club did neither on January 12, 1950. He speculated on what the US defense perimeter was, did not support South Korea, and 6 months and two weeks later North Korea attacked.
Physicians take the Hippocratic Oath. It should be carved in stone over the entrance to Foggy Bottom and in the Capitol.
Do No Harm