Dancing with the Devil: The Perils of Engaging Rogue Regimes

Dancing with the Devil: The Perils of Engaging Rogue Regimes

by Michael Rubin
     
 

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The world has seldom been as dangerous as it is now. Rogue regimes—governments and groups that eschew diplomatic normality, sponsor terrorism, and proliferate nuclear weapons—threaten the United States around the globe. Because sanctions and military action are so costly, the American strategy of first resort is dialogue, on the theory that “it

Overview


The world has seldom been as dangerous as it is now. Rogue regimes—governments and groups that eschew diplomatic normality, sponsor terrorism, and proliferate nuclear weapons—threaten the United States around the globe. Because sanctions and military action are so costly, the American strategy of first resort is dialogue, on the theory that “it never hurts to talk to enemies.” Seldom is conventional wisdom so wrong.

Engagement with rogue regimes is not cost-free, as Michael Rubin demonstrates by tracing the history of American diplomacy with North Korea, Iran, Iraq, Libya, the Taliban’s Afghanistan, and Pakistan. Further challenges to traditional diplomacy have come from terrorist groups, such as the PLO in the 1970s and 1980s, or Hamas and Hezbollah in the last two decades. The argument in favor of negotiation with terrorists is suffused with moral equivalence, the idea that one man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter. Rarely does the actual record of talking to terrorists come under serious examination.

While soldiers spend weeks developing lessons learned after every exercise, diplomats generally do not reflect on why their strategy toward rogues has failed, or consider whether their basic assumptions have been faulty. Rubin’s analysis finds that rogue regimes all have one thing in common: they pretend to be aggrieved in order to put Western diplomats on the defensive. Whether in Pyongyang, Tehran, or Islamabad, rogue leaders understand that the West rewards bluster with incentives and that the U.S. State Department too often values process more than results.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

“Diplomacy, like any other human activity, has costs as well as benefits. Sadly, too many people believe that diplomacy is cost-free, or fail to understand that merely sitting down together at a negotiating table may simply be shifting the focus of conflict. These are the people who most need to read Dancing with the Devil, but probably won’t. The rest of us should.”

John Bolton, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, 2005–2006

“Because of the current American negotiations with Iran about nuclear weapons, Michael Rubin’s path-breaking history, Dancing with the Devil, could not be more timely. In this illuminating book, Rubin shows how fifty years of dancing with devils by Democratic and Republican administrations has more often than not led to failure rather than success, war instead of peace. Rubin warns us that when America negotiates naïvely with rogue nations and terrorist groups, we pay dearly.”

Senator Joseph I. Lieberman

“Beautifully written in clean and direct prose, thorough in its history and analysis, and compelling in its clear-eyed recommendations, this book will become the trade and textbook standard for how a free country should deal with hostile states and regimes. Here is due respect for the subtle arts of diplomacy as well as a necessary recognition of its limits.”

William J. Bennett, former U.S. Secretary of Education, fellow of the Claremont Institute, and host of the nationally syndicated radio show Morning in America

“When and how should the United States engage diplomatically with difficult, dangerous, ‘rogue’ regimes? No question is more important for America’s relations with the world. In Dancing with the Devil, Michael Rubin provides a deeply considered, clearly written, politically controversial, and intellectually compelling answer. This book is a must-read for anyone concerned about the future of American foreign policy.”

Michael Mandelbaum, author of The Road to Global Prosperity and professor of American foreign policy at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies

“Rubin’s book is one of the most comprehensive histories yet of the risks of US diplomatic engagement with rogue and extremist regimes, and should serve as a warning to naïve policymakers who do not understand their political pathologies.”

Andrew Natsios, Executive Professor and Director, Scowcroft Institute of International Affairs at the George H. W. Bush School of Government and Public Service

"Everyone who engages or negotiates with rogue states, or any other nation, should be required to read Dancing with the Devil. Rubin’s assessment of rogue states is a compelling argument for utilizing all elements of our national power. The North Korea experience alone highlights how diplomacy can just as easily exacerbate as resolve conflict."

LTG Dan Petrosky, U.S. Army Retired, former commander, 8th U.S. Army

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781594037238
Publisher:
Encounter Books
Publication date:
02/18/2014
Pages:
384
Product dimensions:
6.20(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.40(d)

Meet the Author


Michael Rubin, a former Pentagon official, is a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute and a senior lecturer at the Naval Postgraduate School.

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