David Cameron’s unusual comment about Syria

Well, that’s a rather unexpected frame of reference:
Cameron on Syrian rebels

I guess it’s a backhanded compliment that people at Liberal Democrat conference is taken as exemplar of nice people by David Cameron. The more serious point, however, is that the heart of David Cameron’s point is right: if you want to succeed at something you often have to work with people who you don’t fully agree with you.

All the more so if you are liberal who believes in tolerance and diversity because that includes being happy with a world in which there are people who don’t agree with you. It’s not a flaw in a liberal society to have people of different views; it’s an essential part.

In a very different context, earlier today I mentioned two examples of winning support for a viewpoint which marries those who are motivated by political values and those who are motivated by pragmatic concerns.*

In the Middle East such mixing of allies is often a necessity, illustrated most clearly by the number of powerful and influential people how are both against violent extremism and against equal rights for women.

Winning the struggle against violent extremism is such a tough struggle that it often requires working with such people. The trick to doing it is cooperate where you agree without forgetting where you disagree.

* Yes, pragmatism can be a value, but you know what I mean.


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