alien & sedition.
Wednesday, February 28, 2007
  Pure Psychic Automatism at the Corner

Above: An NRO Foreign Policy Roundtable

Don't look now, but there's an extremely silly debate going on at the Corner over diplomatic engagement with Iran. It was triggered by this Frank Gaffney piece, in which the author displays the most spectacular ignorance about diplomacy in general, and Iran in particular. Ultimate Warrior Andy McCarthy gives it a "huzzah!" which prompts Andrew Stuttaford, The Last True Tory, to weigh in with a little reality check:
Talking to Iran and Syria is, of course, absolutely the correct, cynically self-interested, thing to do. The idea that sitting down with the representatives of a country's regime either somehow "legitimizes" that regime or will be perceived (by anyone who matters) as some sort of reward is nonsense. [...]

Will anything good come of it? I've no idea, and nor does anyone else, but we won't know until it's been tried.

Speaking more widely, it strikes me as thoroughly perverse that those who like to argue that "nothing" should be off the table when it comes to Iran and Syria find a little diplomatic conversation as something too ghastly to contemplate.
This, of course, does not sit well with the Fighting Keyboarders of the NRO. Michael Rubin opines that "it's been tried before," and anyway, Yassir Arafat. McCarthy, meanwhile, shoots a white-hot bolt of pure stupidity into the mix:
While we're at it, let's get bin Laden, Zawahiri and Mullah Omar to the table. Maybe we can get this whole thing settled.
He follows this up with a descent into what appears to be a form of rhetorical dadaism:
Re my suggestion that we include bin Laden in the talks, readers are pointing out to me that this is ridiculous because Michael Ledeen has pointed out that Osama has probably gone off to that Big Orgy in the Sky. This strikes me as terribly insensitive.

The dead, after all, have their point of view. And what about putting yourself in the other guy's shoes — Rule One for the successful negotiator? Won't we all be dead someday? Wouldn't it just be another case of unilateral American cowboy arrogance to refuse to negotiate with someone just because he's, er, vitally-challenged?
Whether the Cornerites are some sort of avant-garde experiment in political performance art, or just drunk, you've got to feel a little empathy for Stuttaford and his pointless efforts to reason with them.

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This is why I love your blog - that is my favorite, not just Yves Tanguy favorite, but my favorite of all time painting! That and your blog makes me feel a little bit smarter.
Thanks - and I'm glad it makes you feel smarter, because reading somebody like McCarthy makes me feel signficantly stupider. So maybe it all evens out. :-)
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