Rory Stewart for the win:
Rory Stewart, the Afghanistan-war skeptic who heads the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy at Harvard, has one advantage over his fellow witnesses at this Senate panel: he’s better with quips. Stewart compares the Obama administration’s twinning of Afghanistan and Pakistan policy to a policy of dealing with “an angry cat and a tiger,” after Brookings’ Steve Biddle reiterated his argument that the U.S.’s interests in Afghanistan are primarily about Pakistan.
“We’re beating the cat,” Stewart said, “and when you say, ‘Why are you beating the cat?’ you say, ‘It’s a cat-tiger strategy.’ But you’re beating the cat because you don’t know what to do about the tiger.”
And don’t forget this Rory Stewart classic:
Since arriving at Harvard in June last year, he has been consultant to several members of Barack Obama’s administration, including Hillary Clinton, and is a member of Richard Holbrooke’s special committee for Afghanistan and Pakistan policy. “I do a lot of work with policymakers, but how much effect am I having?” he asks, pronging a mussel out of its shell.
“It’s like they’re coming in and saying to you, ‘I’m going to drive my car off a cliff. Should I or should I not wear a seatbelt?’ And you say, ‘I don’t think you should drive your car off the cliff.’ And they say, ‘No, no, that bit’s already been decided – the question is whether to wear a seatbelt.’ And you say, ‘Well, you might as well wear a seatbelt.’ And then they say, ‘We’ve consulted with policy expert Rory Stewart and he says …’”
Anyways, you shouldn’t just listen to the guy who has the best jokes, but I think these are good points.