The other day I had a conversation with Noah Millman about this. I retailed Tom Friedman’s story about trying to get Syria on side for Gulf War 1, traveling with James Baker to Damascus 14 times, coming home each time to headlines saying “Baker mission to Damascus fails.” The fifteenth time, however (says Friedman), the Syrians yielded, and they were indeed on side for GW1.
—–Me: “Fifteen times! The Syrians are real hard cases.”
—–Noah: “Yes. And remember, that was fifteen times to line them up against someone they already considered an enemy!” [I.e. Saddam Hussein]
Hard cases indeed; but it’s a hard neighborhood, and it seems to me that Andrew’s suggestion might be worth a try. Perhaps even fifteen tries….