Diplomacy at home and abroad

To keep your marriage brimming,

With love in the loving cup,

Whenever you’re wrong, admit it;

Whenever you’re right, shut up.

– Ogden Nash

A couple of years ago, Mitt Romney learned a valuable lesson on his first overseas trip as a presidential candidate:

Diplomacy is like marriage – there is absolutely no room for total honesty.

If a reporter asks if the Israelis have the right to do whatever it takes to keep Iran from getting nuclear weapons, pretend the question was from your spouse asking if a certain dress makes her look heavy.

The proper answer to both questions is “Definitely . . . not . . . maybe . . . I really don’t know. What do you think?”

Romney messed up and said the Israelis had the right to do whatever it takes to defend themselves. He probably told Mrs. R that white dress was a plumper, too.

Of course, Romney got off on the wrong foot when he gave an honest answer to NBC’s Brian Williams about whether or not our staunch allies, the British, were ready to host the 2012 Summer Olympics from a security standpoint. The poor candidate had seen all those stories about a private company not being able to hire enough guards and told Williams, “I don’t know, it makes you wonder.”

Again, the correct answer was “Definitely . . . not . . . maybe . . . I really don’t know. What do you think?”

One has to remember when dealing with terrorism, nuclear wars and spouses that the term “diplomatic” means vague, cowardly and smart. Whatever he does, the diplomat/husband should never come across as knowledgeable and convinced he has the right answer.

If one really is convinced he has the right answer, he should take Mr. Nash’s advice and simply shut up. That is how peace is kept – at home and around the world.

* Editorials reflect the opinion of the publisher.