Good Statecraft Treats State and Non-State Actors Differently

[Daily Star-Lebanon] Dennis Ross - Negotiations confer recognition. For that reason, it is essential to draw a distinction between states like Iran or Syria and non-state actors like Hizbullah and Hamas. For non-state actors, recognition is a major achievement. It creates legitimacy, builds momentum and creates a sense of inevitability about the achievement of their agendas. None of this should be given for free. Thus, while I am not prepared to exclude direct negotiations or meetings as a tool of statecraft with states, it is essential to treat non-state actors differently. Take the example of Hamas, a non-state actor now dominant in Gaza. There is a need to avoid a humanitarian crisis. But if Hamas wants developmental assistance or investment coming to Gaza, they should have to play by the basic rules of the game - one of which is stopping attacks against Israel. Hamas should have to adjust to the world, not the other way around.

2007-08-13 01:00:00

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