Good Talk

The best language for discussing issues with nations like North Korea and Iran is the “soothing” kind of language. We have to slow things down, suggest a few ideas, and not go overboard. Huffing, puffing, and posturing gets headlines, but usually doesn’t bring satisfactory results when you’re looking for a lasting strategy.

If we examine the culture of Korea, we see that it harks back to Confucianism: family, stability, and filial prerogative. We may thus find some commonality with our own principles.

The best strategy for Iran is different, but the challenge is no less daunting. There’s a population of old religious zealots mixing it up with the post revolution generation of nonreligious young people. Something like the U.S. in the 60’s, but with an even greater generation gap between the college students and their parents.

Applying soothing talk during recent visits to Asia didn’t seem to help the president or the U.S. position, but that’s why knowledgeable and rational diplomats need to take their time negotiating.

We can all remember the linguistic skill that President Kennedy brought out during the 1962 missile crisis in Cuba. He changed the threatening word “blockade” to “quarantine” during the ships’maneuvers.

We all have this ability to meaningfully communicate. You see it after a war when people sit down and work out the details at a table. It’s a pity that they don’t bring out the table first.

To submit a comment on this article, email or visit our Facebook page. To submit information to a reporter, email

Be succinct, constructive, and relevant to the story. Leaving a comment means you agree to our Discussion Guidelines. We like civilized discourse. We don't like spam, lying, profanity, harassment or personal attacks.

comments powered by Disqus
event calendar sponsored by:

Phone Scams Spike Countywide

Callers are claiming to be IRS and Homeland Security agents.

Longtime Fiesta Soldados Given the Boot 

Ousted Marc Martinez said Old Spanish Days has become "less inclusive."

Los Padres Forest Officials Ban Unpermitted Campfires

Wildfire conditions prompt caution.

County Out $2M Annually on Recycled Paper

A changing world market is to blame.

Electricity Bailout?

Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson squares off against Governor Jerry Brown.