Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Recent dust-up

A small fight has developed between Obama and Clinton over whether or not to meet w/ leaders of certain nations- Iran and Syria- for example. Clinton appears to be Bush-Lite on this one, and that is no good sign.

Sometimes it's not enough to talk to one's friends. We have to deal with our enemies.

The Concord Monitor published this Op-Ed, and, like Obama, got it right.

The disagreement between Democratic presidential candidates Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton over whether to engage in dialogue with rogue leaders from countries such as Iran and North Korea points finally to a substantive difference in how they view themselves as national leaders.

Sen. Clinton believes that formal contact with such leaders, at least early in her presidency, would provide them with a propaganda opportunity, which would not be in our country's interest. Sen. Obama sees such an opening in communication as a refreshing departure from the current administration's approach of not talking to people it doesn't like. Sen. Obama points to Sen. Clinton's position on the issue as similar to President Bush's practice. Sen. Clinton counters that her opponent was being "irresponsible and frankly naïve."

We see two styles of presidential leadership, one traditional and one, well, audacious. Given the urgency of our times, Sen. Clinton's stance means that progress in mitigating differences with our adversaries while showing our allies a diplomatically emboldened United States would move too slowly. In that way, her position is too much like the president's.

Initiating and hopefully continuing regular diplomatic, economic and cultural exchanges with nations, even those with whom we disagree, may usher in ties and agreements that would benefit the United States.

The first step is for our new president to demonstrate courage and confidence by going head-to-head with any national leader and to leverage the quality of his or her integrity and intellect in the context of a reemerging America proud of its instincts and mindful of its interests.

Sen. Obama got this one right.


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