- By David RothkopfDavid Rothkopf is visiting professor at Columbia University's School of International and Public Affairs and visiting scholar at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. His latest book is The Great Questions of Tomorrow. He has been a longtime contributor to Foreign Policy and was CEO and editor of the FP Group from 2012 to May 2017.
Yesterday at lunch I ran into a very senior official who is deeply involved in the negotiations with Honduras. He said, “It is a very strange situation. Here you have on one side officials from Honduras and on the other side you have the United States, Hillary Clinton, Brazil, Michelle Bachelet, the rest of the world. They seem to be enjoying it … they have never had so much attention.”
And so the government of Honduras learns the first lesson of weak-state diplomacy as taught by the Sun Tzu of diplomatic tantrums, Kim Jong-Il: the more big powers you can irritate, the better off you are. They almost never manage to apply real pressure and more importantly, wherever they go, the cameras go. If North Korea were a poor Stalinist agricultural enclave on the northern bit of the Korean peninsula that didn’t have nuclear weapons they would be getting roughly the publicity of…well, Cameroon, which is a near neighbor on the CIA GDP chart. (Some other neighbors on that chart like Cyprus and Yemen have also managed to ratchet up the attention they get by being festering sores on the political map.)
Whatever the case, the diplomat advised the Hondurans not get too used to the limelight, that their 15 minutes were almost up. What’s the matter with these guys? A call to Pyongyang or A.Q. Khan and they could become a first tier nuisance to the world and enjoy all the rights and privileges thereto appertaining.
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