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Breaking: Veteran Diplomat Stuart E. Eizenstat Says U.S. Must Continue Supporting Efforts to End Wars in Ukraine & Gaza.

Eizenstat on Lean to the Left
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Wars in Gaza & Ukraine

Former Assistant Secretary of State Stuart E. Eizenstat says the U.S. must continue providing military aid to Ukraine and offered a path to resolution of the war in Gaza in an interview for the Lean to the Left podcast that focused on the wars in Gaza & Ukraine.

Ukraine: A Battle of Endurance and Strategy

Drawing from historical precedents and the words of former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, Eizenstat said the eventual resolution of the Ukraine conflict will hinge on a strategic stalemate on the battlefield:


"This war in Ukraine will ultimately end when both sides believe they can't get anything further on the battlefield in terms of their political goals," he said.


He advocated for the U.S. to continue providing critical military aid to Ukraine, comparing the potential outcomes to the armistice that concluded the Korean War, rather than a direct peace agreement.

"That's why it's terribly important to make sure that we provide Ukraine with all the arms they need, not just to defend themselves, but to take back as much of the territory that Russia has robbed from them as possible so they're in the strongest position when negotiations start," Eizenstat said.

"We don't need to put, and we shouldn't put, troops on the ground," he declared. "What we do have to do is we have to have the U. S. military supply and quickly the most sophisticated weapons possible. The six month delay in getting Congress to approve the appropriation of 60 billion dollars in funds was devastating. It blunted their counteroffensive that allowed the Russians to build entrenched defenses and to start their own offensive," he said. "And the administration, the Biden administration has not been as speedy as might've been in getting Abrams tanks and F 16 fighter jets. That has to be done immediately. We don't want to put troops on the ground and we shouldn't, but the substitute for that is to make sure that Ukraine has the means to defend themselves."

Eizenstat, former top White House aide, U.S. ambassador, undersecretary of state, and deputy treasury secretary who served in six presidential administrations, played a leading role in historic negotiations over the past 50 years, and is the author of a new book, “The Art of Diplomacy: How American Negotiators Reached Historic Agreements that Changed the World.”

What action would Eizenstat advise President Biden to take with respect to Ukraine?

"We need to talk to Zelensky, not negotiate behind his back, and get from him, what does he see the end game being? How long can they hold out? What territory in the end would he be willing to cede? And what security guarantees will he need to do it," he suggested.

Gaza: Balancing Diplomacy and Military Action

Eizenstat, who has gone to Israel more than 50 times in his career for negotiations with PLO leader Yasser Arafat and to work on the economic dimension of the peace process, said the US. must "give Israel the means to defeat and disable Hamas as a governing and military structure, But, we have to also, as the administration is trying to do, combine diplomacy with military force."

Eizenstat cautioned that Hamas will not be defeated alone by military force. and that the US. must "look at Gaza as part of a broader conflict. And that broader regional conflict involves Iran on the one hand, which has been the military supplier for Hamas, with its so called, and they call it this, their axis of resistance with Hamas, with Hezbollah, with the Houthis, with Syria."

Moreover, he said, America needs to convince Israel that the most important security it can have is to be within a broader pro Western context with Jordan, with Egypt, with the UAE, and ultimately with Saudi Arabia. "They need to do it by having some perspective on a future for the Palestinians in the West Bank with the non Hamas more peaceful Palestinians."

The Power of Personal Diplomacy

 Eizenstat opened the conversation by shedding light on the core motivations behind his latest book. He emphasized his aim to provide a human face to diplomacy, demonstrating how effective negotiations have historically resolved numerous conflicts and contributed to a better world. He shared examples of tireless efforts by world leaders and diplomats, who often engage in complex, prolonged negotiations that demand immense stamina and unwavering determination.


"I wanted to show that, in fact, over the last 50 years U.S.-led diplomacy has resolved difficult problems and created a better world," Eizenstat reflected.


Effective Negotiation: Key Qualities and The Importance of Trust and Empathy

One of the central themes of the discussion was the set of skills essential for successful negotiation such as preparation, empathy, creativity, and stamina.


Eizenstat shared a story about former Assistant Secretary of State Bernard W. Aronson's efforts in the Colombia Civil War negotiations, emphasizing the transformative power of personal gestures to build trust:


"The FARC leader developed a serious kidney problem," Eizenstate explained, "and Bernie went to see him personally in his hospital room, and that did more than almost anything else to build trust."


Such anecdotes underlined the critical role of personal relationships and empathetic understanding in diplomatic negotiations, often making the difference between success and failure.


Domestic Politics and International Credibility

 In light of criticism of President Biden’s age, Eizenstat defended the President's capabilities, drawing parallels with his own continued activism and energy.

He underscored the importance of sustained U.S. engagement in global affairs, warning against a potential return to isolationism which would only embolden adversaries like Russia and China.


Looking Back: A Life of Impactful Negotiations

 Reflecting on his remarkable career, Eizenstat recounted pivotal moments, including a decisive "no" during the Kyoto Protocol negotiations, and formative experiences like his work on Holocaust restitution. These stories not only highlighted his vast experience but also the personal commitment driving his public service.


"That was a formative experience in my young life," Eizenstat recounted, pointing to his longstanding commitment to Holocaust issues.


Our conversation with Eizenstat not only provided deep insights into the art and science of diplomacy, but also underscored the essential qualities required for successful international negotiations. His reflections remind us that effective diplomacy is deeply personal, requiring empathy, trust, and a relentless commitment to peace and justice.


For those interested in exploring these themes further, Eizenstat’s book offers a compelling journey through some of the most critical diplomatic agreements of the past five decades. As he aptly put it, the book seeks to place readers in the negotiating room, offering a unique perspective on the subtleties and complexities of international diplomacy.


We thank Mr. Eizenstat for sharing his profound insights and experiences with us. His contributions to diplomacy continue to shape our world, providing valuable lessons for current and future generations.

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Eizenstat book

Editor's Note: Stuart Eizenstat's book is available on Amazon and at Politics and Prose in the Washington area. Be sure to pick up a copy for a deeper dive into the fascinating world of international negotiations.



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