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Obama Foreign Policy Goes From Carrots to Cookies

9:40 PM, Sep 28, 2009 • By MICHAEL GOLDFARB
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Scott Gration, Obama's gaffe-prone special envoy to Sudan, boils it down:

"We've got to think about giving out cookies," said Gration, who was appointed in March. "Kids, countries, they react to gold stars, smiley faces, handshakes, agreements, talk, engagement."

This from the man who took it upon himself to declare the genocide in Darfur over -- mere "remnants of genocide" remain he told reporters in June -- at a time when even our push-over Ambassador to the United Nations, Susan Rice, was still accusing the Sudanese regime of that precise crime. (Gration would later try and make amends by telling the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that "Susan Rice is one of my dear friends. There are few women in the world that I would say, 'I love you' to, and Susan is one of them. I love Susan Rice.") Only three months before Gration issued his summary judgment that the genocide in Darfur had come to an end, Sudanese President Omar al Bashir was indicted for war crimes by the International Criminal Court. Gration is pushing the administration to normalize relations with this indicted war criminal.

A piece in the New Republic this summer slammed Gration for "fashioning his Sudan policy around an ideological attraction to carrots and an aversion to sticks--when everything we know about Sudan tells us that this is precisely the wrong tactic." Apparently Gration and Obama have moved on from carrots to cookies and gold stars. This explains perfectly the administration's approach to Burma (Clinton is talking of dropping sanctions), Russia (abandoning missile defense), Iran (submitting to talks on the ridiculous terms laid out by the Iranians), and North Korea (dumping the Six Party talks for bilateral negotiations). And if Obama pulls the plug on the war in Afghanistan, it may be cookies for the Taliban, too.