Tonawanda News

Columns

September 13, 2013

ADAMCZYK: Instant war and instant peace

Tonawanda News — That an offhand and sardonic comment by the U.S. Secretary of State, a response to a journalist’s question, is a fulcrum on which geopolitics moves, should not come as news to anyone who uses social media to make day-by-day choices. Or for that matter, anyone accustomed to quick decision-making.

Managers and mommies have been using this technique for generations; when in doubt, do something. Anything. Make a choice; you likely can overrule yourself later. This business of “carefully analyzing the information to better reach a consensus and choose the best course of endeavor,” so dear to football coaches and political animals, is not only a fraud, it’s obsolete.

It went roughly like this, earlier this week:

Random journalist at a press conference: What’s your ideal scenario, Mr. Kerry?

Mr. Kerry: That this Assad fellow in Syria takes his chemicals and puts them under international control.

(Three hours later) Mr. Lavrov, Russian foreign minister: Hell, if that’s all he wants I’ll get on the phone to Damascus right now.

Mr. Assad: Uh, what the Russian guy said.

President Obama, several days later: Back off, Republicans, we may be able to pull this off peacefully and without your venomous input.

Quick. Fast-developing. Open and transparent. So elementary even Fox News can understand it. A series of lucky breaks, to be sure, but realpolitik for an impatient world. Despite all the ceremonial diplomacy these people need to display, it’s clear they know how to use their Twitters and Facebooks and Instagrams, not to mention whatever spy channels to which they have access.

If you grew up in a world in which this stuff predated you, you won’t understand the improvement. There was a time when it was perfectly appropriate to drop a note into the U.S. Mail’s mail stream, on say, Tuesday evening. It would be picked up on Wednesday morning, and if the recipient was within 50 miles you, he or she would be reading it Thursday afternoon. Come to my party. I’m sorry. Here’s that information about football. Whatever.

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