You know, friends, we’re hearing again the infantile expression, “we don’t talk with bad guys.” Robert Fisk, one of my favorite writers who covers the Middle East, had this to say about the silliness of our leaders refusing to talk with “bad guys.” We are in a state of perpetual war. Wouldn’t talking to the so-called “bad guys” be more effective in bringing peace than refusing to communicate until they’re disarmed or destroyed?
To put it another way, should we talk to the killers of the “Islamic State”? Or al-Qaeda? Or Hamas? Or – let us cross the line – the Provisional IRA? Or should we join in the madness of “listing”, drawing up mammoth charts of those to whom we can and cannot talk: a “good” and “evil” list, defining those good “terrorists” (the PLO, the post-Good Friday IRA, the squeaky clean version of the Muslim Brotherhood) and the really horrible “terrorists” (Isis, al-Qaeda and any lesser creatures whom Israel and the US, and thus the UN and even the EU, deem utterly satanic).
Not long ago, I was chatting in Beirut to a Tory MP who had maintained moderately good relations with the Lebanese Shia Hezbollah militia. Only with the Hezbollah political party, you understand. Not those vicious anti-Semitic chappies who threaten Israel. But then Britain and the EU decided that all of Hezbollah – even those supporters who wouldn’t know one end of a Kalashnikov from another – were verboten, beyond the pale, too unspeakable to be spoken to. End of all chit-chat, therefore, between a UK parliamentarian and Hezbollah politicos. Much good did that do. Read More