Helen Lee Schifter understands the nature of communication and why dialogue is so imperative. Philosophically speaking, there has long been an ongoing debate about whether dialogue is worthy of having with one’s adversaries. This is a conversation that’s often had in political contexts. Surely, there are those that believe sincerely, that there should be a change in the way people cooperate when it comes to engagement and dialogue.
There are those like Helen Lee Schifter who have an understanding of the value that dialogue can have on the outcome of resulting social experiments. The truth of the matter is that there are many situations where conversation and basic healthy and stimulating dialogue can have constructive effects that are felt that otherwise would not exist.
For this reason, dialogue should always be considered as an option that is available to parties to access, no matter the circumstances that may exist. There is a need for dialogue in foreign policy matters for instance. Typically when nations are adversaries and have differences, they will often have policymakers and policy officials among them who exhibit a refusal to sit down and engage in dialogue with their counterparts.
This stubbornness in some corridors and situations is indeed founded and justified. For instance, if two parties are at total odds with one another – with neither willing to even acknowledge the existence of the other, this problem can indeed become a substantial one. And as such, the ability to have a dialogue that could actually prove fruitful and beneficial is diminished greatly.
The likelihood of such a dialogue yielding any sort of positive results is equally implausible and unlikely. But does that mean that sitting down at the table with one’s counterparts in such a situation shouldn’t be considered anyway? This is a discussion that’s multi-faceted; and in order for it to be properly appreciated, the factors that exist need to be properly accounted for and considered.
For example, there needs to be an understanding of the drawbacks and shortcomings related to having such a dialogue. Perhaps the party doesn’t want to validate the wishes of the counter-party. Perhaps the leverage that one party has over the other can be used in a positive manner in order to generate goodwill before a dialogue is agreed upon.
These are all factors that lend the type of nuance to this conversation, that is otherwise and frankly typically lacking. So it needs to be understood and appreciated; that the ability and futility of whether dialogue is the proper course of action in any situation is one that truly is relative and wholly dependent on the given circumstances surrounding the situation. Let that be understood, internalized, and appreciated.