August 03, 2009

Lunch w/ the FT...

...last weekend, with Rory Stewart. I blog the lunch interview really for this snippet:

Since arriving at Harvard in June last year, he has been consultant to several members of Barack Obama’s administration, including Hillary Clinton, and is a member of Richard Holbrooke’s special committee for Afghanistan and Pakistan policy. “I do a lot of work with policymakers, but how much effect am I having?” he asks, pronging a mussel out of its shell.

“It’s like they’re coming in and saying to you, ‘I’m going to drive my car off a cliff. Should I or should I not wear a seatbelt?’ And you say, ‘I don’t think you should drive your car off the cliff.’ And they say, ‘No, no, that bit’s already been decided – the question is whether to wear a seatbelt.’ And you say, ‘Well, you might as well wear a seatbelt.’ And then they say, ‘We’ve consulted with policy expert Rory Stewart and he says ...’” [my emphasis]

Incidentally, Stewart had not unrelated thoughts in the LRB a month or so back.

Posted by Gregory at August 3, 2009 10:54 PM

I read the FT piece today myself (while waiting for my car to be serviced) and also found that passage very striking, so much so that I wanted to hop up and make everyone at the service counter read it themselves. Luckily I resisted that urge.

Posted by: bdbd at August 4, 2009 11:12 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

bdbd: Good impulse control. I, on the other hand, didn't resist and foisted the link off on the comment threat at Matt Yglesias post on AF-PAK policy.

Posted by: Adams at August 7, 2009 11:11 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Exactly what is a "policy expert," anyway? I always wondered. Regarding Afghan-Pkstn, is it the guy who spends long walks and odysseys in the ancient, frozen mountains? one who speaks to the retrograde Pashtun in their native lingo? somebody who's studied the region's history and knows its mystic soul?

Cause if it is, if that's the coin of the realm, then tell Dear Rory to stick with writing ficition. I have tired of the guys who've got things figured out for us. Get me the dunce who's just bright enough to say the hell with those places. There are too many bodies six feet under that might still be eating their own New England brunches had some geopolitical genius kept his mouth shut.

Bin Laden died a long time ago, ladies. Time to move the fck on.

Posted by: resh at August 11, 2009 07:25 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

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Gregory Djerejian comments intermittently on global politics, finance & diplomacy at this site. The views expressed herein are solely his own and do not represent those of any organization.

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