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Diplomacy thriving, but without U.S.

The fall election and an era of diffused power may be factors.

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Just this spring, a number of diplomatic initiatives and conflict-settlement discussions are taking place without the United States, raising questions about the reach and strength of American global power.

The world may be simply witnessing a lull in US diplomatic results until voters pick a replacement for George W. Bush – a particularly unpopular American president on the international stage. But another reason could be at work: Is this the waning of American primacy and the dawn of an era of diffused power?

Consider these developments:

•Fierce fighting that threatened to engulf Lebanon in a new civil war last month was quelled when factions reached a political accord with the help of Qatar – though with the US nowhere in sight.

Israel and Syria have begun talks aimed at reaching a peace treaty – with Turkey as the go-between.

Brazil, looking for partners with which to expand its diplomatic reach, suddenly finds China eclipsing the US – particularly in food trade.

In these and other examples, both the US election and the dawn of a new era – one with diffused power – are probably both factors, many analysts say.


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