When it comes to last week's comments regarding meeting with our "enemies," Obama clearly came out on top.
Obama was asked if he would consider meeting with enemies of the USA. Obama quickly said that he would and then followed that with, â€œThe notion that somehow not talking to countries is punishment to them -- which has been the guiding diplomatic principle of this administration -- is ridiculous.â€
I think he is right on the mark with that comment. The silent treatment might work between mother-daughter disagreements or maybe even when your husband doesn't give you what you want.... But, that is not how to run a country. We need to show other countries that we are not scared of them. We need to show them that we are willing to meet and try to solve world issues. We cannot write them off without at least giving them the option to speak. In the current state of the world, we do not have the clout to perpetuate ourselves as the biggest and baddest. We cannot hand out limitations and qualifications if a meeting is to take place. We need to approach the rest of the world as a country that is willing to listen but also willing to stand up for our values when the "enemies" don't deliver.
Clinton responded to Obama's answer in her own delightful way: â€œbefore (I) know what the intentions are. IÂ don't want to be used for propaganda purposes,â€ she said. â€œI don't want to make a situation even worse.â€
Eric Zorn, Chicago Tribune columnist, put it all into perspective in his latest column:
What cautionary tale does Clinton have in mind in which the mere fact of a U.S. presidentÂ talking with a foreign leader made a situation worse? Or when such talking diminished us in the eyes of the world? What success stories inspire her faith in preconditions that stand in the way of international negotiations?Â
Clinton Spokesman Phil Singer offered no examples, though I pressed him for some.
â€œSen. Clinton has repeatedly said we need to engage in vigorous diplomacy to put an end to the cowboy approach of the Bush years,â€ read his formal response to me. â€œBut she doesnâ€™t believe we should give away the leverage of a meeting with the U.S. President before discussions even begin with anti-American leaders like (Cuban leader Fidel) Castro and (Venezuelan president Caesar) Chavez, and people like (Iranian President Mahmoud) Ahmadinejad who deny the Holocaust happened.â€
The idea of high-level conversation as a plum we grant only to those leaders who satisfy our demands and sanity tests has the virtue of being standard U.S. diplomatic practice.Â This is true not just in the current administration, as Obama said, but in Democratic and Republican administrations going way back.Â Â (http://blogs.chicagotribune.com/news_columnists_ezorn/2007/07/talk.html)
Â After the last 7 (will be 8) years, we need someone fresh and open to new tactics in the White House. We need a leader. We don't need another follower that will play everything safe and do only what other presidents have done. I want someone that will stand up for what he/she believes in. I want someone that is willing to meet with "enemies" rather than keep the chip on our country's shoulder and only talk to people that the president deems worthy of our greatness. That's a bunch of crap! No one is beneath us - ESPECIALLY the leaders of the countries in question! Obviously, these are powerful people that have accomplished a lot (although not what most of us would view as positive).
Keep your friends close and your enemies closer.