Lessons From the Carpet Bazaar

When negotiating for Persian carpets, it’s generally a good idea to know the size of the room you intend to adorn with that gorgeous example of fine Isfahan craftsmanship.  You don’t want to spend a lot of time haggling over something the wrong size, especially if time isn’t something you have to spend:  it just becomes an additional component of the ever-escalating price for what is ultimately an unsuitable purchase.

I leave it to the reader to judge how one might best apply these general remarks to the particular case of those misguided American hikers we’ve been hearing so much little about.   On the one hand, President Ahmadinejad could scarcely make it any plainer that he’s willing to trade pawns.   On the other, Secretary Clinton is obliged to endlessly repeat the same old-same old.   Let’s hope that the back-channel conversations are considerably more candid.


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