US silence is deadly

Boston Globe
by Robert I. Rotberg

10/19/06

Washington needs to learn to talk, listen, and engage more and condemn less. It understood those wise nostrums in the first phase of Afghan intervention in 2001, when it worked hand-in-glove with the Northern Alliance and discreetly and astutely let Afghans organize their own loya jirga and the interim government that followed. But it has stiffed an initially cooperative Syria, missed opportunities when a mildly reformist leader was president of Iran, and rebuffed President Kim Jong-Il of North Korea at a time when, arguably, he was hungering for reassurance and discussion. Given their dramatic posturing and generally roguish behavior, the United States may be unable in the short term to find appropriate ways to engage North Korea and Iran in meaningful dialogue. It might still be able to induce President Bashir al-Assad of Syria to pursue the best interests of both Syria and the United States...

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