I’ll share in the skepticism about the Columbia invitation to Ahmadinejad. And I certainly agree that double standards are all too often seen in academia when it comes to deciding who is or who is not to be given a ‘platform’. That said, it’s worth making the more general point that agreeing to debate Ahmadinejad need not in itself necessarily be “appeasement”. On the contrary, played properly, such a debate could be an opportunity to show him up for what he is.
Here, meanwhile, is a reminder of that self-confident time when the US was prepared to debate the bad guys, a link to an article on the Nixon/Khruschev “kitchen debate”. Khruschev, it should be remembered, had, in the past, not only advocated mass murder, but, as one of Stalin’s key aides, had also helped organize it. And was Vice-President Nixon right to debate this butcher? Yes.