The Best of Andy Rooney
(This classic Andy Rooney column was originally published
There are a hundred places in the world that need the help U.S. power and money can provide. But we have to ask, how much can we do and how much do we have the will to do? How effective would diplomacy be?
The dictionary says of "diplomat": "one skilled in diplomacy." Under "diplomacy," it reads: "tact in dealing with people."
The dictionary doesn't say so, but being diplomatic also means not always saying what you think. "Tact" can mean saying something that's less than the whole truth in order to influence or avoid offending someone.
The diplomats don't dare tell us the whole truth because half the time we wouldn't let them do what they think our country should do. They may know best but we don't want to hear it.
We've had a lot of good secretaries of state over the years. Thomas Jefferson was George Washington's secretary of state. John Quincy Adams and Martin Van Buren were both secretaries of state before becoming president. Daniel Webster was a great one. Henry Stimson, Dean Rusk, Cyrus Vance were all better than good. Most people thought Madeleine Albright was good at the job. Not everyone thought the same of Henry Kissinger.
President Woodrow Wilson made a speech to
Other points included "Absolute freedom of navigation on the sea," "Removal of all trade barriers" and "General disarmament."
Americans aren't much interested in diplomacy because it usually means dealing with foreign countries. If a vote were taken and the choice for Americans was between never having any relationships with any foreign country again, or doing everything within our power and wealth for the poor people of the world, we'd vote to curl up and forget everyone else. A great many Americans don't think we should concern ourselves with the rest of the world's problems.
There have always been a lot of Americans who are isolationists, and sometimes they've been right. It seems likely we should never have become involved in either Korea or Vietnam. We were embarrassed about being too slow to enter World War II, so we made up for it by moving too quickly in Korea and Vietnam. When Hitler moved into Poland and started to take over Europe, Americans generally were cool to the idea of going to help. Our policy was indifference. An organization called "America First" had a huge number of supporters who were isolationists.
It took the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor to make us realize that we were also residents of this Earth and what happened any place on it also happened to us.
- A Smashing Time That Was Good for Some
- Boy, Do We Like to Watch
- Please Don't Feed the Twins
- Parenting: Don't Think. It Can Only Hurt the Team
- Regrets. People Should Have a Few
- What I'll Miss About Bachelorhood
- Get That Nut Away From My Child!
- For the Love of the English Language
- It's Time to Win One for the Zipper
- Does Whatever a Lousy Title Can
- I Prefer My Preferences
- What Do You Do With a Gift Shop Gift
- Life and Religion
- The Action Pile
- Why I Hate Myself for Going to Starbucks
- Kicking the Bucket List
- The War of the Sandwiches
- In Praise of the Common Cold
- Nobody Wants a Bummer Ending
- The Anti-Social Network
- I Have Been Known to Save Things
- I'm King of the Burger!
- My Kids Have Weird Names, Too
- Get Off My Lawn
- Money for Nothing
- 50 Ways to Beat the Heat
- Things Not to Do Today
- Desire is a Terrible Disease
- Home, Sweet, Wet Home
- Bed-Buggin' Out
- I Want to Like Soccer
- New Jersey is the New Black
- I'm Not Looking Forward to 40
- Charity is Never Easy
- Is There an App for That?
- Paying Taxes is a Blast!
Humor & Funny Stories - Diplomacy: Lying Politely | Andy Rooney
Article: Copyright © Tribune Media Services