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Debate: Obama, meeting with hostile foreign leaders without preconditions

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 +*'''Obama's offer would cause rogue leaders to invite a meeting.''' Michigan Republican Congressman Pete Hoekstra, responding to the notion of these requests, predicted, "That would be an untenable position for the President of the United States to be put in."[http://www.cbsnews.com/blogs/2008/07/23/politics/horserace/entry4286443.shtml]
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Revision as of 20:14, 27 July 2008

Is Barack Obama justified in his willingness to talk to foreign leaders without preconditions?

Contents

Background and Context of Debate:

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Yes

  • President Kennedy's meetings with Nikita Khrushchev at a time when the two nations were on the brink of nuclear war, and to
  • President Nixon's meeting with China's Mao Zedong, "with the knowledge that Mao had exterminated millions of people."
  • "And yet, we understood that we could advance our national security by at least opening up lines of communication," Obama said. "It's a signal of how badly our foreign policy has drifted over the last eight years."
  • "Preconditions" for talking are often what need to be talked about. Barack Obama - "Preconditions, as it applies to a country like Iran, for example, was a term of art because this administration has been very clear that it will not have direct negotiations with Iran until Iran has met preconditions that are, essentially, what Iran views and many other observers would view as the subject of the negotiations."[1]
  • Not talking to rogue nations does not punish them. Obama, D-Ill., said after being asked at the CNN/YouTube debate whether he would meet with rogue nations without preconditions, replied, "Yes. I would. And the reason is this: that the notion that somehow not talking to countries is punishment to them -- which has been the guiding diplomatic principle of this administration -- is ridiculous."
  • Meeting unconditionally does not mean meeting for no purpose. Meeting without "preconditions" does not mean meeting with rogue leaders without any specific purpose in mind.
  • John F. Kennedy said, we should never negotiate out of fear but we should never fear to negotiate.

No

  • Obama's offer would cause rogue leaders to invite a meeting. Michigan Republican Congressman Pete Hoekstra, responding to the notion of these requests, predicted, "That would be an untenable position for the President of the United States to be put in."[2]




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Yes

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No

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Yes

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No

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