part 2 – saying something without saying anything
analogies are a very useful tool in order to suggest a further action to a situation without actually voicing means and goals. by comparing a current event to a happening in the past, one frames the issue in a certain way. the most popular example of this case is the munich-analogy to iraq in 2003. “munich” refers to the appeasment-policy used by france and britain in 1938 for they thought that giving in to hitlers demand for the annexation of czech republics would end his aggression and prevent a war. by comparing sadam hussein to adolf hitler it is suggested to use all possible means necessary in order to stop “the villian”, before he can develop more strength and unfold more cruelties, for one “already knows” that appeasement “does not work”.
being aware of analogies is crucial when following current affairs in international relations. one has to pay attention to things that are suggested, especially when it seems that people do not say anything or are “just” using an example.
der spiegel (24.06.) cited the british foreign minister, william hague, who suggested, that the force used in syria reminded him of the happenings in bosnia in the 1990s.
remembering the events in the 1990s, one recalls the united nations resolutions 713 (1991) and 819, and the activation of chapter 7 of the UN charter that legalizes the use of force through article 42 in the case that all other peaceful measures suggested in article 41 were not sufficient. in the case of syria, william hague suggests an international intervention into syria – without actually saying so.
another way of saying something without actually saying everything is shown in the case of a bbc reporting on the turkey-syria-plane-incident.
comparing the bbc article to the part 1-blog on turkey and syria shows an interesting view on the taking down of the plane. it is suggested that the plane was shot outside of the syrian territory but crossed the 12 sea miles -“border” while crushing.
but even more interesting in this case is the diplomatic language used by mr. erdogan mentioning that the “other [syrian] side” had “expressed regret for the downing of the f-4”. there is a very slight, yet decisive difference between “expressing regret” and an “apology”. apologies implicitly say that one is sorry and takes full responsibility for what has happened. expressing regret instead denies responsibility.
paying attention to what is said, is crucial in political issues. but more important than that, is to listen to what is suggested, by actually not saying all that much. language is still a very unrecognized factor in political science today, yet all policies, all information and all communication is based on language. recognizing, that language is not a mere reflection of reality but is also able to shape the way we think about certain matters – that language can create reality – is the first step in order to understand the happenings around us in more detail.