Democratic Death Trap: Why Dialogue Spells Doom


Nancy Pelosi and fellow democrats are notorious for making dialogue their preferred option in dealing with dangerous dictatorships.

Barry Rubin, Director of the Global Research in International Affairs (GLORIA) Center, Interdisciplinary Center university, today examines how dialogue spells doom for those who wish to believe that this is the way to deal with radical regimes who want you dead.

Engage, Moderate, Split

Engage, moderate, and split—that’s the mantra for Middle East policy of the wrong-headed in many foreign ministries, newspaper editorial offices, universities, and other places where the rapidly growing international bad-ideas industry is centered.

Yet nothing could seem more self-evident than these propositions. What could possibly be wrong with engaging radical forces, persuading them to change their ways, and breaking up their alliances?

I’m glad you asked. Here is how these apparently obviously correct ideas are dangerous and even disastrous.

1. Engagement. Doesn’t one need to talk to enemies? How else can you get them to change? Well, it depends on whom, how, and when. Here are some of the problems of just having a cozy little chat with Iran, Syria, or Hamas for example.

First, what about history? If the past record shows that such efforts have failed it indicates that more such attempts are misguided and that other methods are needed. For example, the U.S. government sent numerous high-level delegations to Syria between 2001 and 2005 only to find that it was repeatedly lied to. This campaign only stopped when Syria’s government murdered former Lebanese Prime Minister (and most popular politician) Rafik Hariri.

As for Iran, Britain, France, and Germany spent three years engaged in diplomatic dialogue about Iran’s nuclear program during which Tehran lied, broke promises, and did not fulfill commitments, all along working full speed ahead to get atomic bombs. The International Atomic Energy Agency has just announced a new timetable. Wow, that should scare Tehran! And of course this, too, will be flouted to be replaced no doubt by still another deal until the day Iran gets nukes.

…The rest is just as good.
Rubin discusses the other losing options today at GLORIA Center.

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