Does diplomacy matter?

Witness diplomacy’s failure to hold authoritarian brutality accountable

Above: Syria, 2014 (Courtesy Reuters)

At this juncture Syrian refugees, some still in camps after 11 years, pray that what happened to them doesn’t happen to Ukrainian refugees. But here the comparison shades: Ukraine in 2022 is more like Czechoslovakia in September, 1938. World diplomatic leaders and allies are reliving the limits of diplomacy at stopping an authoritarian takeover.


1.Democracy’s frailty, not authoritarianism’s hesitancy;

2.Two can play the escalation game;

3.Dissidents are pawns in diplomatic/power takeovers;

4.‘Agency’ is demonstrated by another diplomat’s walk out:

UN Ambassadors walk out during Lavrov’s speech to the UN General Assembly. Photo courtesy of

5.Limits of anti-violence response to preventing brutality;

6.Shared scarcity brings angst and defection to the diplomatic tables;

7.Nativism abounds (1);

8.Diplomacy begets deterrence;

9.Nihilism supplants hope;

10.Trauma is distributed to those already traumatized: refugees are demonized.

One seeks refuge from trauma and displacement: what authoritarians crave.

Build a camp, harbor authoritarianism.

March 17

1-Consider how fraught the Northern Ireland peace accord is post-Brexit. Visit



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