Of Communication and Capitulation

President Bush has taken a swing at the presumptive Democratic candidate, by likening him to Neville Chamberlain and the Nazi appeasers. (NY Times but you may have to register).

There are many reasons I find the President’s statements ill advised. I find it especially ironic, however, that Chamberlain’s negotiations preceded a war — and are often credited with causing it. Any negotiations that might take place with Iran now would be negotiations following a war — and one can draw his or her own conclusion as to what caused what.

I know a lawyer who is a professional negotiator. I have often heard him say that “those who do not communicate will litigate.” I accompanied him once when he suggested to a client that communication and negotiation might be in the client’s best interest. The client assailed him as being a “Chamberlain.” His response, which I have carried with me since, was, “I know a thousand respectful ways to say ‘No.'”

I have a hunch that if we do not communicate with Iran, we will end up fighting with Iran. Communication, however, is not the same thing as capitulation.


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