vrijdag 8 april 2011

We should never negotiate with terrorists (03-10-06) Intelligence Squared

Time 01:42:15
03 Oct 2006
MP4 - 399 MB


Intelligence Squared, the global forum for live debate, is dedicated to creating knowledge through contest.


The panel debate the motion: We should never negotiate with terrorists. Chaired by Richard Lindley.

Arguing in favour of the motion are David Trimble, Frank J Gaffney Jr and Dr Emanuele Ottolenghi.

David Trimble draws on his experiences as a Northern Irish politician to propose the motion that we should never negotiate with terrorists. He states that we shouldn't see terrorists as deluded, and that instead of responding with repressive measures we should try to win the ideological war. This involves intelligence and penetration of terrorist organisations, but not negotiation.

Frank Gaffney Jr then explores the context of terrorism in the modern world. He states that negotiation is especially ill-advised given that terrorists use it as a tool for a political purpose, and discusses the characteristics of Islamic fundamentalist terrorism, stating that the movement is more about power than faith. He then outlines four main reasons why we should not negotiate with terrorists and ends with the warning that negotiation entails real costs we cannot afford.

Dr Emanuele Ottolenghi admits that the global 'war against terror' is not working. However, he still maintains that we should never negotiate with terrorists for several reasons. First, that terrorist groups have been defeated in the past, and while there has sometimes been a heavy price, it can be done. Second, that while addressing the complex grievances of terrorism – something that is difficult in itself – we should maintain the fight against the reality of its acts of violence.

Arguing against the motion are William Sieghart, Colonel Lior Lotan and Jason McCue.

William Sieghart begins with the assertion that most terrorists are driven by a sense of grievance often shared by many. Therefore, we should negotiate primarily for the simple fact of realism. A war against terror has been shown to be extremely difficult while repressive measures clearly did not work in Northern Ireland. Not negotiating therefore justifies perpetual war, while dialogue with the most implacable of enemies usually proves fruitful.

Lior Lotan begins by debunking the myths of negotiation upon which the proposers of the motion rely. He then puts forward the benefits of a pragmatic and practical approach to negotiation, such as the opportunity to gain access to more information, or the moral value it grants the negotiating party.

Jason McCue declares that it is time for a wholesale review on the policy of fighting terror, suggesting that we need to deal with the causes rather than the effects. He draws from his legal experiences of negotiating with terrorists to put forward several reasons for dialogue. These range from a legal analogy that illustrates the importance of out-of-court settlements, an illustration of the hypocrisy shown by Western governments and the idea that common sense surely shows there must always be a preference for dialogue.

First Vote: 241 For, 247 Against, 201 Don't Know

Final Vote: 289 For, 381 Against, 55 Don't Know

The motion is defeated by 92 votes


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