By Sospeter Otieno for Sunday Standard.
Diplomacy has always been a game of quid pro quo. And it follows that what you receive is commensurate with what you get.
It is a self evident a priori, that several weeks before the United Nations Security Council voting for a deferral, Kenyaâ€™s (UNSC) President Uhuru Kenyatta delivered a speech at the Extraordinary Session of States and Governments of the African Union in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
That speech, which would as well have passed as Uhuruâ€™s magnum opus given the level of international scrutiny that it attracted, The President sounded to incite AU countries to turn their backs on the West.
While the intellect and boldness of Uhuruâ€™s thesis as delivered at Addis was the most intense foreign policy speech done by a Kenyan President, the consequences that would follow meant that it was not only ill-advised, but also ill-timed.
He wasnâ€™t going to incite Africa against the West and expect to run away with it.
A Machiavellian Prince walking similar minefield would have waited until the deliberations and voting at UN Security Council had been dispensed with. And if he canâ€™t wait, do it behind closed doors or at worst â€œwait until he is very sure that the gallows are an a fait accompli and has nothing to lose. That speech collapsed any soft spot the West may have retained for the US-educated son of Kenyaâ€™s founding President.
The race card was manifestly evident in the speech that sounded aimed at blackmailing the veto wielders at the UN to acquiesce to Kenyaâ€™s bareknuckle diplomacy.
That speech, though a cathartic rightwing masterpiece, lacked humility and created an atmosphere which would have made a Western support for the deferral motion look like a submission to Kenyaâ€™s hard tackle diplomacy. Moscow and Beijing would have taken credit for helping Kenya secure a deferral.
It is, therefore, this writerâ€™s opinion that it would have been a better strategy for Uhuru to deliver a triangulated, humble, polite and non-polarising message.
Uhuruâ€™s purely anti-West Ahmadinejaad/Mugabe-like narrative while it earned Kenyaâ€™s push for deferral support of Communist leaning UNSC veto wielding nations like Russia and China, alienated Kenya from receiving the support of veto wielding democratic nations like the US, UK and France.
And given the hard time the West encountered dealing with Hugo Chavez, Fidel Castro and Mugabe, the West would endeavor to nip anti-West leaders in the bud at their earliest portrayal of Castro-like tendencies That is why Uhuruâ€™s speech at Addis only assuaged the souls of Moscow and Beijing but repelled any Western allied nations sympathetic to Kenyaâ€™s cause.
The need to end the numerous conflicts in Africa also means that any UNSC member voting with a conscience was cagey about supporting the deferral motion.
The Presidentâ€™s assertion that the ICC is a Western tool intent on intimidating poor African countries, though in sync with his supportersâ€™ long held conviction that ICC is a Western puppet, made him appear like he was aligning himself with the East. Thatâ€™s not so palatable in The West.
These Western veto wielding nations are also aware of the purveyors of a â€œdistorted political spinning and anti-ICC propagandaâ€ who have frequently insinuated that Western capitals have already submitted a judgment template to be rubber-stamped by the judges. And that this template can be edited in favour of the accused if they were to toe the line of the West.