Mon | Oct 25, 2021

In diplomacy, interests trump principles

Published:Monday | November 26, 2018 | 12:00 AM


I note with piqued interest an article published titled 'Shaw to visit Israel for bilateral talks' in The Gleaner. Normally, this would pass as routine, however , bring your attention to last December, nearly a year ago now, when the Jamaican Government was being heavily criticised for the vote at the United Nations General Assembly. It was the vote on a United Nations resolution to declare "null and void" President Donald Trump's recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

Our Government decided to abstain from that vote. Responding to the media as to why Jamaica abstained, the prime minister said that Jamaica did not need to take a position on another country's decision on where they would want to see their embassy located.

What should be of greater interest to the country is the development of relations between Jamaica and Israel since the UN votes. From intelligence to trade and commerce, it is difficult to argue that the Government is not forging a partnership with new allies. This a grand play on the global scene.

This country has depended on traditional partners for far too long. It is time we made some new friends, ones that value our relationship more so than what we had before. By abstaining from a vote that had zero consequence for Jamaica, one can argue that it does more to uphold individual freedoms of nations. We have gained an ally.

While it is great, honourable even, to live by principles, that is unfortunately not how geo-politics works. In world affairs, business is conducted based on common interest and mutual benefits. It will do well for our foreign minister and our diplomats to recognise that.