Lebanese journalist Rami Khouri was on NPR's Talk of the Nation yesterday, discussing the diplomatic and strategic challenges in Lebanon and the Middle East as a whole. There was discussion about nuclear deterrents, terrorism, borders, elections, and wars. Big important stuff. When asked how he would deal with it all Khouri did not, however, refer to historic diplomatic initiatives or politics. Rather, he went with baseball [audio only; fun stuff begins at 12:45].
Noting his experience as a little league umpire, Khouri said that in approaching the Middle East as a mediator the United States should strive to apply the same principles an umpire does: refer to a rulebook; apply the rules fairly and systematically; be decisive but take that extra second if you have to -- even conferring with your fellow ump if you have to -- in order to make sure you get that big call right. Khouri -- who obviously knows more about the Middle East than just about all of us -- is so enamoured with his baseball/Middle East metaphor that he said he is sketching out a book proposal to flesh it out even further.
Baseball: is there nothing it can't do?
(muchas gracias for the link to Sara K., who knows from metaphors)