This of course, is a recipe for escalation. The time for an easy solution was long ago. The penalty for dragging out a diplomatic solution for too long is that in the end it makes war look almost attractive by comparison. One way to discredit a good cause is via a bad implementation. Diplomats sometimes fail to see this. They always think there’s water left in the well. When the Tamil Tigers were surrounded by the Sri Lankan military and on the verge of annihilation one Western diplomat reportedly warned Colombo: “if you defeat them, then who will you negotiate with?”
It’s a good question, but one that has no answer within the diplomatic context. Unfortunately diplomacy is not the only context on this sad earth. The penalty for trying and failing is failing.
Diplomats – at least western diplomats – are taught that diplomacy is a substitute for war. It is, of course, no such thing. And when diplomacy fails, violence often has the final word.
You can’t negotiate with corpses. On the other hand, they aren’t much likely to threaten you in the future.
Which reminds me: When was the last time Saddam Hussein paid Hamas savages by the head for Israeli corpses?