Saturday, April 07, 2007

Who CAN We Talk To ?

Nancy Pelosi leads a delegation to talk to Assad in Syria and the White House blows a gasket all over the media and particularly the right noise machine. Evil countries cannot be talked to by the USA. Evil is one of those words that gets tossed around in politics, it's a sort of generic for us not liking what they are doing. I'm not defending what they do, but I really prefer more specific words.

The White House says they will not talk to Syria. They say it is because they support terrorists and interfere in other countries. I wonder exactly what talking or not talking has to do with that? If we're not to talk to them there must be something about talking to them that somehow benefits them or what they do. Talking to a country recognizes that it exists, um, they exist whether we talk to them or not. I suppose the stance could be taken that it somehow legitimizes them; they belong to the UN, their leaders do actually run the places, in fact they run the places in ways we don't like. I think they're already legitimate and what they do is a fact (or purported fact) so not talking to them doesn't make it not happen. If talking to them is supposed to create an aura of power for them the problem with that idea is that they already have the power to do the things we don't like and they know it and so do their people. These are some of the rationales for not talking that I've been able to come up with and I've actually tried to come up with some that aren't strawmen; but I ain't having any luck. As far as I can tell, not talking to these people makes all our stances regarding them postures. The Prez can pose for the cameras being tough guy, well heck, we already know he can wear a flight suit, "clear" brush, use Old West terminology, and movie lines like, "bring it on." So what?

If I object to my neighbor storing garbage, making a stink, and drawing pests complaining to my wife and friends will have no more effect than stomping my feet and moaning. I could actually go next door and tell him that it stinks and is drawing pests and I don't like it. Blowing up his house is not a good option, persuading him that there is mutual benefit available is a better approach. Syria is not run by a lunatic, there are reasons they do what they do. If there are reasons and we know them and understand them we have an idea of how to approach them with another path. You can't know something by guessing, you get answers by asking and, yes, you have to know how to ask. Trying to understand something is not the same as approving, it is in fact a strategic advantage to know what your opponent is thinking and why.

The world is a dangerous place, bad intelligence and guessing are the tools of failure in an arena where failure is not a good thing. Talking to your friends is nice, they say nice things and sometimes you make nice deals, talking to your enemies or opponents is critical, while you may not make nice deals you get the opportunity to not make real stupid mistakes (Iraq) and possibly make trade-offs. You might find that what is a major issue to your opponent involves what is to you a minor inconvenience, this isn't blind optimism, it has factually been shown throughout history. The problem is that during stare downs the rhetoric frequently obscures the actual issues and stupidity ensues.

Well, stupidity has ensued enough times under this administration, you'd think they'd have figured something out by now, but noooooo.

1 comment:

KISS said...

"Well, stupidity has ensued enough times under this administration, you'd think they'd have figured something out by now"
It's about POWER. Talking is considered a weakness in the repug's minds.And it has served them well. Removing taxation from the wealthy, a win without talking. A war, a win without talking. End of unions, a win without talking.Screwing citizen on medicines, a win without talking. North American Union, maybe a win...and no talking. Illegal immigrants getting status as citizens, no talking...almost a done deal.Usurping citizen's rights, a win without talking.
Remember though Clinton did the same thing, difference was the repug machine hated him and went after every scheme he had, and most were the repug agendas..figure that one.