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Debate: Obama, meeting with hostile foreign leaders without preconditions

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====Yes==== ====Yes====
-*'''[[Argument: US has a history of meeting rogue leaders without preconditions| 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."+*'''[[Argument: US has a history of meeting rogue leaders without preconditions| 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. Kennedy said, we should never negotiate out of fear but we should never fear to negotiate. 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."[http://factcheck.barackobama.com/factcheck/2008/05/29/obamas_consistent_position_on.php]
-*'''It is stubborn to meet only when all preconditions are met.''' [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 point is that I would not refuse to meet until they agree to every position that we want, but that doesn't mean that we would not have preparation," he continued. +*'''Meeting foreign leaders is a means of engaging in aggressive diplomacy.''' An interview on Fox News in May, 2008 - "MS. KELLY: Senator, do you assume too much about men like Ahmadinejad? In other words, that you could reason with someone as irrational as he is? SEN. OBAMA: First of all, he's not the most powerful leader in Iran, so he might not be the person that we would need to meet with. But more importantly, the reason that you have discussions and diplomacy is not because you assume reason or good motives on the other side. That would be naive. What you assume is that if you are very clear about the need to stand down on nuclear weapons, that you are very clear about the need to stop funding Hezbollah and Hamas and to stop threatening Israel"[http://factcheck.barackobama.com/factcheck/2008/05/29/obamas_consistent_position_on.php]
-*'''"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."[http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/Vote2008/Story?id=4896002&page=2]+*'''Meeting rogue leaders better reveals their true interests.''' Barack Obama said in May, 2008, "[when] you have engaged in those direct talks, and you're listening about what their interests are, number one, we get a better sense of what their true interests are"[http://factcheck.barackobama.com/factcheck/2008/05/29/obamas_consistent_position_on.php]
-*'''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."+*'''Speaking with rogue leaders demonstrates US is not impeding progress.''' Barack Obama said in May, 2008, "[when you meet with rogue leaders without preconditions] you have sent a message to the world that we are not the impediment of making progress, that they're the ones who are holding up progress" which allows us then to strengthen our alliances to impose the kinds of tough sanctions that may be necessary to change their behavior."[http://factcheck.barackobama.com/factcheck/2008/05/29/obamas_consistent_position_on.php]
 + 
 +*'''Speaking with rogue leaders helps build alliances, enables action.''' Barack Obama said in May, 2008, "[when you meet with rogue leaders without preconditions] you have sent a message to the world that we are not the impediment of making progress, that they're the ones who are holding up progress, which allows us then to strengthen our alliances to impose the kinds of tough sanctions that may be necessary to change their behavior."[http://factcheck.barackobama.com/factcheck/2008/05/29/obamas_consistent_position_on.php]
 + 
 +*'''It is stubborn to meet only when all preconditions are met.''' [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 point is that I would not refuse to meet until they agree to every position that we want, but that doesn't mean that we would not have preparation."
 + 
 +*'''"Preconditions" for talking are often what need to be talked about.''' Barack Obama said in May, 2008, "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."[http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/Vote2008/Story?id=4896002&page=2]
 + 
 +*'''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."[http://factcheck.barackobama.com/factcheck/2008/05/29/obamas_consistent_position_on.php]
*'''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. *'''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.
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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] *'''[[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. 

Revision as of 21:20, 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. Kennedy said, we should never negotiate out of fear but we should never fear to negotiate. 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."[1]
  • Meeting foreign leaders is a means of engaging in aggressive diplomacy. An interview on Fox News in May, 2008 - "MS. KELLY: Senator, do you assume too much about men like Ahmadinejad? In other words, that you could reason with someone as irrational as he is? SEN. OBAMA: First of all, he's not the most powerful leader in Iran, so he might not be the person that we would need to meet with. But more importantly, the reason that you have discussions and diplomacy is not because you assume reason or good motives on the other side. That would be naive. What you assume is that if you are very clear about the need to stand down on nuclear weapons, that you are very clear about the need to stop funding Hezbollah and Hamas and to stop threatening Israel"[2]
  • Meeting rogue leaders better reveals their true interests. Barack Obama said in May, 2008, "[when] you have engaged in those direct talks, and you're listening about what their interests are, number one, we get a better sense of what their true interests are"[3]
  • Speaking with rogue leaders demonstrates US is not impeding progress. Barack Obama said in May, 2008, "[when you meet with rogue leaders without preconditions] you have sent a message to the world that we are not the impediment of making progress, that they're the ones who are holding up progress" which allows us then to strengthen our alliances to impose the kinds of tough sanctions that may be necessary to change their behavior."[4]
  • Speaking with rogue leaders helps build alliances, enables action. Barack Obama said in May, 2008, "[when you meet with rogue leaders without preconditions] you have sent a message to the world that we are not the impediment of making progress, that they're the ones who are holding up progress, which allows us then to strengthen our alliances to impose the kinds of tough sanctions that may be necessary to change their behavior."[5]
  • "Preconditions" for talking are often what need to be talked about. Barack Obama said in May, 2008, "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."[6]
  • 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."[7]
  • 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.


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."[9]




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Yes

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No

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Yes

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No

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