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Debate: Obama, meeting with hostile foreign leaders without preconditions

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*'''[[Argument: Obama's conditionless meetings would involve diplomatic preparations| Obama's conditionless meetings would involve diplomatic preparations]]''' [http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/Vote2008/Story?id=4896002&page=2 "Obama's Evolving Take on Meeting With Iran. Democratic Contender Under Fire From McCain on Foreign Policy". ABC News.] - "The preparation [for talks] would involve starting with low level, lower-level diplomatic contacts, having our diplomatic core work through with Iranian counterparts -- an agenda. But what I have said is that, at some point, I would be willing to meet." *'''[[Argument: Obama's conditionless meetings would involve diplomatic preparations| Obama's conditionless meetings would involve diplomatic preparations]]''' [http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/Vote2008/Story?id=4896002&page=2 "Obama's Evolving Take on Meeting With Iran. Democratic Contender Under Fire From McCain on Foreign Policy". ABC News.] - "The preparation [for talks] would involve starting with low level, lower-level diplomatic contacts, having our diplomatic core work through with Iranian counterparts -- an agenda. But what I have said is that, at some point, I would be willing to meet."
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 +*'''[[Argument: Obama would meet Amadinejad, but he may fall out of power| Obama would meet Amadinejad, but he may fall out of power]]''' Barack Obama said in May 2008, "There's no reason why we would necessarily meet with Ahmadinejad before we know that he was actually in power. He's not the most powerful person in Iran."[http://uk.reuters.com/article/marketsNewsUS/idUKN2635794020080527]
*John F. Kennedy said, we should never negotiate out of fear but we should never fear to negotiate. *John F. Kennedy said, we should never negotiate out of fear but we should never fear to negotiate.
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|WRITE CONTENT FOR THE "YES" BOX ABOVE THIS CODE width="45%" bgcolor="#F2FAFB" style="border:1px solid #BAC5FD;padding:.4em;padding-top: 0.5em;"| |WRITE CONTENT FOR THE "YES" BOX ABOVE THIS CODE width="45%" bgcolor="#F2FAFB" style="border:1px solid #BAC5FD;padding:.4em;padding-top: 0.5em;"|

Revision as of 20:58, 27 July 2008

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

Contents

Background and Context of Debate:

The debate over Barack Obama's position on meeting with foreign leaders without preconditions became a central component of the 2008 elections during a CNN/YouTube debate, on July 24th, 2007. He was asked, "Would you be willing to meet separately, without precondition, during the first year of your administration, in Washington or anywhere else, with the leaders of Iran, Syria, Venezuela, Cuba and North Korea, in order to bridge the gap that divides our countries?" Obama responded, "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."


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Yes

  • US has a history of meeting rogue leaders without preconditions President Kennedy met with Nikita Khrushchev at a time when the two nations were on the brink of nuclear war. President Nixon met with China's Mao Zedong, even "with the knowledge that Mao had exterminated millions of people." Obama said, "And yet, we understood that we could advance our national security by at least opening up lines of communication. 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."
  • Obama is only willing to meet rogue leaders when it's in US interests. Meeting without "preconditions" does not mean meeting with rogue leaders without any specific purpose in mind that relates to US and global interests. Furthermore, a willingness to meet with rogue leaders is not a promise to meet. Obama has not committed to meeting with all rogue leaders. He has only said that he is willing to meet without setting pre-conditions regarding the behavior of those states. An important condition on all meetings remains: that it be within US strategic interests to meet, and work toward something.
  • 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."[3]




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Yes

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No

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Yes

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No

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