14 August 2006

Story of Diplomacy

Reading this article in the NY Times today describing the negociations over the cease fire in Lebanon reminded me of what initially attracted me about history and politics: the story (of course). Usually, political articles speak in terms of ideals and generalities, and history textbooks talk about overall movements and large events. Both of these bore me as much as the next non-history buff. But when you get down to these primary accounts, the large scale events disappear into the people and personalities involved therein. There's such a sense that it's actually happening and that people just like you are really involved in changing the world.

It's what initially got me involved in Model United Nations--the opportunity to understand what time, effort, and personality go into the diplomatic dealings that get reduced to a single sentence in a textbook. And this article made me realize how similar MUN is to the real deal. I can't tell you have many times I've faced similar situations to those described in the article. An amazing compromise resolution grinds to a hault when the opposition absolutely will not agree. Then just when you think you have them, they bring up some minor wording or timing issue. Your resolution looks like it's going to fall apart, and your rivals have siezed the opportunity to create a brand new resolution. Just when all looks hopeless, you pull a late night caucus session and manage to come out with the last minute resolution that's the hit of the session. Ah, it's a beautiful feeling.

Oh man, I miss MUN. I wish I had the time to sign up for the BYU team or volunteer with RHSMUN again this year . . . .

Now I really want to go read Diplomacy by Henry Kissenger again. Nothing to make Cold War politics exciting like the first hand story from someone who was really there. Yes, I did just use "Cold War politics" and "exciting" in the same sentence. I didn't appreciate it enough when we had to read it in IB World History. Hurrah for Ms. Nicholas!

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