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Debate: Obama, meeting with hostile foreign leaders without preconditions

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

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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."
  • 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.


No

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Yes

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No

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Yes

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No

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