by Barry Rubin
Before I respond to some points about the
Some years ago, a colleague wanted to invite me to speak at his think tank in
While this seems a rather flimsy excuse—hey, this is
My philosophy on these matters is to challenge this kind of performance. There are good reasons for doing so.
First, the way it works in the Arabic-speaking world is that visitors are fed nonsense unless they show that they won't accept it. When that happens, you get a higher level of information and more respect.
Second, it puts the speakers on notice that they have to be more honest and more realistic if they want to get anywhere.
Remember, I was not an official or a journalist representing any governmental or journalistic institution, but a researcher and analyst. We're supposed to question things, right?
In fact, my polite demurrals upset others in the delegation to the point that I was immediately disinvited from continuing with the group to
Now, why am I telling you all this? The reason is this: the person in question has just written an article supporting
Briefly the argument is this :
A. By talking with
B. The United States talks to other dictatorships so why not to
C. Iran might help the
Now back to my point. Once talks begin, the tendency is to become uncritical. Can the
No, because—as the author of the article I have in mind showed in my case—you punish people who raise tough questions and point out the other side's shortcomings and lies.
Thus, we arrive at a ridiculous but common situation.
After all, it's impolite and they get angry if you criticize them, right?
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