Other Campuses: Condi’s diplomacy needs to be fixed

(U-WIRE) PITTSBURGH – Diplomacy is not just a fancy word for international bullying. Sadly, the current administration has yet to figure that out.

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice embarked on a flight to Europe yesterday. Though the initial goal of the trip was to smooth relations with multiple countries over the war in Iraq, recent allegations of CIA-operated, secret “black sites” have shifted the focus.

The European Union has sufficient reason to believe that the CIA may be detaining and/or torturing suspected terrorists on European soil, which would violate the EU’s human rights policies. The United States is also accused of transporting these suspects in planes that have been traveling in European airspace and refueled in European airports.

We’ve been caught with our hand in the cookie jar. Rice all but acknowledged these secret sites; the U.S. government is likely engaged in some very shady business.

Did we tactfully apologize, and try to transparently coordinate our efforts with the EU? No.

Instead, in typical Bush-administration fashion, we went on the offensive, shifted the blame to someone else and bulldozed over the legitimate inquiries of the EU with smug statements so full of loopholes as to be positively offensive.

Rice said that countries would have been notified if the CIA held suspects on their soil. She avoided the issues of airports and airspace, implicitly saying that the United States has a right to use other countries’ resources to do things those countries consider illegal.

She also said that U.S. counter-terrorism intelligence has saved European lives; this much may be true. She then implied that in exchange for this information, sovereign countries of the EU can and should defy EU laws and cooperate with America.

Not only does this sound like a veiled threat – if countries don’t break their own laws to house torture sites for U.S. prisoners, we might not share information that could prevent needless terrorist attacks – it’s also absurd.

The United States does not get to rule the world. No divine being descended from the heavens, giving us the right to govern other countries. If the EU has laws criminalizing certain actions, the EU has a right to keep them off of its soil and out of its airspace. The legality of these actions within the United States is irrelevant. If some countries broke EU law, it is within reason for the EU to punish them and wrong for us to try and stop this.

For Rice to go to Europe, ostensibly on a relationship-building mission, and proceed to tell the continent that it needs to just quiet down and let us run things how we want is hypocritical and counterproductive.

We aren’t helping anyone in the EU by going behind their backs to pursue our own interests; we are flouting their laws. In doing so, we aren’t just harming the member-countries of the EU – we are driving our best allies away.

Staff Editorial