Here’s what commitment to “talk to friends and foe alike” will get you….

You know…Obama likes to talk….and has committed to talks without preconditions with Iran….

Apparently other enemies, borderline enemies, and rogues have been listening and they like his approach on “talking to friends and foe alike”:

From Russia, with love:

On Wednesday, the day after Obama’s election, Medvedev threatened to move short-range missiles to Russia’s borders with NATO allies even as the U.S. offered new proposals on nuclear arms reductions as well as missile defense. Allowing Russian observers at planned missile defense sites in Poland and the Czech Republic were among them, U.S. officials said………..

………(On Saturday) A Kremlin statement said Obama and Medvedev “expressed the determination to create constructive and positive interaction for the good of global stability and development” and agreed that their countries had a common responsibility to address “serious problems of a global nature.”

To that end, according to the Kremlin statement, Medvedev and Obama believe an “early bilateral meeting” should be arranged.

Happy Hamas:

Under the outgoing U.S. President George Bush, the United States refused to talk to Hamas.

“It’s a big change — political and psychological — and it is noteworthy and I congratulate President Obama,” Meshaal said in the interview with Sky News website from the Syrian capital Damascus.
“But as a result of the election and the change, he should know he has duties to the United States and in the whole world and in hotspots, especially in the Middle East.”

“…we are ready for dialogue with President Obama and with the new American administration with an open mind, on the basis that the American administration respects our rights and our options,” Meshaal told Sky.

Of course, Obama will get right on it in scheduling that little sit down…remember Obama said during the campaing that Hamas (and Hezbollah) have legitimate claims: 

The U.S. needs a foreign policy that “looks at the root causes of problems and dangers.” Obama compared Hezbollah to Hamas. Both need to be compelled to understand that “they’re going down a blind alley with violence that weakens their legitimate claims.”

And then, of course, there is this lecture, in letter form, from Ahmadinejad of Iran on Thursday:

“I congratulate you on being able to attract the majority of votes of the participants of the election,” Ahmadinejad said in a message carried by the official IRNA news agency.

“I hope you make the most of the chance of service and leave a good name by preferring people’s real interests and justice to the insatiable demands of a selfish and indecent minority,” he said.

“You are generally expected to make a fast and clear response to the demands for basic… change in US domestic and foreign policy, which all people in the world and Americans want on top of your agenda,” he told Obama.

Unfortunately happy speeches on “hope” and “change” and proclamations for talking without preconditions will now need to be replaced with some solid foreign policy….I “hope” Obama breaks his campaign promises on his approach to Iran, Iraq, terrorists, depleting weapons systems……I’m pulling for him, but I don’t have a lot of confidence in his foreign policy.  We shall see.


2 Responses

  1. In June 1961, a newly elected President met the leader of the Soviet Union in Vienna. An exerpt from a Weekly Standard article continues…

    “I never met a man like this,” Kennedy subsequently commented to Time’s Hugh Sidey. “[I] talked about how a nuclear exchange would kill 70 million people in ten minutes, and he just looked at me as if to say ‘So what?'” In The Fifty-Year Wound, Cold War historian Derek Leebaert drily observes of Khrushchev in Vienna, “Having worked for Stalin had its uses.”

    Kennedy sought a brief final session with Khrushchev to clear the air regarding Berlin. In that final meeting at the Soviet embassy, however, Khrushchev bluntly told Kennedy, “It is up to the U.S. to decide whether there will be war or peace.” Kennedy responded, “Then, Mr. Chairman, there will be war. It will be a cold winter.” On this unhappy note the two leaders’ only face-to-face meeting came to an end.

    Immediately following the final session on June 4 Kennedy sat for a previously scheduled interview with New York Times columnist James Reston at the American embassy. Kennedy was reeling from his meetings with Khrushchev, famously describing the meetings as the “roughest thing in my life.” Reston reported that Kennedy said just enough for Reston to conclude that Khrushchev “had studied the events of the Bay of Pigs” and that he had “decided that he was dealing with an inexperienced young leader who could be intimidated and blackmailed.” Kennedy said to Reston that Khrushchev had “just beat [the] hell out of me” and that he had presented Kennedy with a terrible problem: “If he thinks I’m inexperienced and have no
    guts, until we remove those ideas we won’t get anywhere with him. So we have to act.”


    Talking with foreign leaders who are your allies and are cheering for your success is one thing. Talking with foreign leaders who are adversaries can be constructive, but can also make things worse. Little more than a year later, that new American President would find himself dealing with new Russian nuclear missiles being installed in Cuba. He would have to blockade Cuba, prepare for invasion, and threaten full-scale war before the Russian government would back down.

    Anyone who thinks the Russian mentality suddenly changed simply because the Soviet system imploded doesn’t know much about their history. Their much publicized movement of weapons to the Polish border was well calculated. They fully understand that a handful of interceptors in Poland would do nothing to neutralize the numerous and sophisticated nuclear missile systems the Soviets….errr….Russians currently deploy.

    President Obama had best not be as flippant about meeting with adversaries in practice as he was in during the primary debates.

  2. Well said, GBS.

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