Jim Fallows is a Very Polite Man

Really, he is. I wish everyone in journalism would be as polite as Jim. He seems to be having a disagreement with our mutual friend and colleague Bob Kaplan about China's future, but it's initially hard to tell because he's so careful to be respectful. He first writes movingly about the Atlantic community, and its spirit of respectful disagreement (we'll see how that goes, now that the Atlantic on-line seems to be adding fifteen or twenty new "correspondents" a week, some of whom might even be experienced practitioners of journalism!). Then he carefully lays out his disagreement with Bob. You should read it for yourself; I have no idea who is right, though I would say that this Fallows line strikes me as pertinent and true (and certainly true in my own area of interest):

Arguing for uncertainty, or for many possible futures that will in fact be shaped by real choices by real human beings, may seem weak and unsatisfying. On the other hand: it conforms to the facts...."

This is something I learned the hard way in Iraq; it's also the reason I'm open to the idea that Iraq might conceivably have a brighter future than it once did. This is also something I've learned about the Israeli-Arab conflict. As I told Michael Totten in our recent conversation (yes, I know I'm quoting myself -- sorry, I live in Washington, it's one of the local diseases), but anyone who acts like they've figured out the entire Middle East doesn't know anything.

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Jeffrey Goldberg is a national correspondent for The Atlantic and a recipient of the National Magazine Award for Reporting. He is the author of Prisoners: A Story of Friendship and Terror. More

Before joining The Atlantic in 2007, Goldberg was a Middle East correspondent, and the Washington correspondent, for The New Yorker. He was previouslly a correspondent for The New York Times Magazine and New York magazine. He has also written for the Jewish Daily Forward and was a columnist for The Jerusalem Post.

Goldberg's book Prisoners was hailed as one of the best books of 2006 by the Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, The Washington Post, Slate, The Progressive, Washingtonian magazine, and Playboy. He received the 2003 National Magazine Award for Reporting for his coverage of Islamic terrorism and the 2005 Anti-Defamation League Daniel Pearl Prize. He is also the winner of the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists prize for best international investigative journalist; the Overseas Press Club award for best human-rights reporting; and the Abraham Cahan Prize in Journalism.

In 2001, Goldberg was appointed the Syrkin Fellow in Letters of the Jerusalem Foundation, and in 2002 he became a public-policy scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, D.C.

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