I never was what we sailors referred to as a “state department weenie”, otherwise known to regular people as a “diplomat”.  But I can tell you this:  the physical sanctity of the embassy is the bedrock principle of international relations, like a pre-condition to any sort of orderly contact between sovereigns.

Thus the invasion of embassies in multiple countries signals a truly distressing disruption of the delicate peace that has been maintained (perhaps more imperfectly than we’d care to admit, but still) among the nations of the world for quite some time.

That this seems to have occurred in Egypt, Libya and Yemen as a result of what is often termed “Islamic extremism”, but might better be called Islamic fundamentalism, tends to mark that ideology as an outlier, beyond the pale of civilized conduct.  But to be fair, the fact that only US embassies have been targeted suggests – does not prove definitively by any means, but suggests – that there may be provocation.

You can call it “…absurd and shockingly offensive…” all you like:  rhetoric impoverished of content is a prime indicator of an intellectually weak position.  I didn’t write anything about it at the time, but I will say I had the thought:  there is no excuse for sabre-rattling, bullying and the threat of force against an embassy.  The posture that the UK and the US took toward the Ecuadoran embassy in London was disgraceful.  And it invites something worse from others, which we may have promptly got.

The US does so much bullying as it is that it’s become our reflexive response to everything.  But when it’s directed at another country’s embassy an important line has been crossed.  That is one whirlwind I hope we don’t wind up reaping any more that we already may have.


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