The Art of Persuasion

Colin Powell presented the American case against Iraq to the United Nations on Wednesday, February 5. Powell argued the strongest case yet that Iraq is defying UN sanctions. The Secretary of State's detailed summary of Iraq's violations persuaded even the most dovish members of the UN to take a harder, albeit still diplomatic, line against Saddam Hussein.

"He did a much better job than Bush could have done," argues Donald Moine, Ph.D. an expert on persuasion from California. Making Powell the messenger makes the U.S. case more persuasive-he had been publicly against war in Iraq until a few weeks ago. Because of his change in position, perhaps he was influenced by the facts himself.

"The best persuaders are those who really believe in what they are saying," says Moine. Many people around the world see Powell as a voice of reason. Because he is convinced, people on the fence may follow suit in support of war.

Psychological research has found that the art of persuasion has little to do with rational thinking. People make their judgments based on emotions, they later rationalize their thinking with facts, explains Moine. He notes that both anti- and pro-war advocates made their decision about Iraq long ago.

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