Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Obama: "Diplomacy With Iran Without Preconditions"

James Joyner, in his post, "No Preconditions," hammers Andrew Sullivan and his post, "No Recognition of Ahmadinejad."

James provides this video from campaign '07, where candidate Obama was asked if he'd "be willing to meet separately, without preconditions, during the first year of your administration, in Washington or anywhere else, with the leaders of Iran, Syria, Cuba, Venezuela, and North Korea, in order to bridge the gap that divides our countries":

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.

Now, Ronald Reagan and Democratic presidents like JFK constantly spoke to Soviet Union at a time when Ronald Reagan called them an evil empire. And the reason is because they understood that we may not trust them and they may pose an extraordinary danger to this country, but we had the obligation to find areas where we can potentially move forward.
James links to his essay at the New Atlanticist, "Negotiating with Iran Without Preconditions." And he notes:

Atlantic senior editor Andrew Sullivan has a short post up titled "No Recognition of Ahmadinejad" in which he asserts, "This is the first and absolute requirement of all Western governments. The disgusting visuals of Medvedev and Ahmadinejad yesterday must not be repeated."

But Sullivan was one of the most prominent Obamacons, conservatives who nonetheless supported Barack Obama in last year's election for a variety of reasons, articulated superbly on his blog and in a December 2007
cover story in his magazine called "Goodbye to All That: Why Obama Matters." Obama could not have been more clear on this issue. Who can forget this moment from the July 24, 2007 Democratic debate?
I'd note first that while perhaps Sullivan might have been an "Obamacon" last year, he's now a well-established spokesman for the gay-radical nihilist base of the Democratic Party.

In any case, it's clear, as James notes, that President Obama's assertion that he "
will pursue tough, direct diplomacy without preconditions to end the threat from Iran" remains the position of the administration.

Here's this morning's statement from the administration, from
Jake Tapper:

President Obama argued yesterday that there is little different between Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and challenger Mir-Hossein Mousavi on policies critical to the U.S.

“It's important to understand that although there is amazing ferment taking place in Iran, that the difference between Ahmadinejad and Mousavi in terms of their actual policies may not be as great as has been advertised,” the president told CNBC. “Either way, we were going to be dealing with an Iranian regime that has historically been hostile to the United States, that has caused some problems in the neighborhood and is pursuing nuclear weapons. And so we've got long-term interests in having them not weaponize nuclear power and stop funding organizations like Hezbollah and Hamas. And that would be true whoever came out on top in this election.”
Read the whole thing. Actually, according to Tapper:

... there do seem some key differences on other issues. For one, Mousavi seems far more willing to engage with the West.

Mousavi has expressed a desire for more openness. "An approach that runs on the basis of 'keeping the influx of changes at bay' will irrefutably bring about the closure of newspapers, limitations on freedom in society and public detachment from national-religious leadership,"
he has said. "On the contrary, an approach that moves toward the recognition of changes, upholds values like sovereignty, liberty as well as peace. Such an approach would produce the right conditions for changes in the society and enable us to make the most of our opportunities.”
Bottom line?

Well, Sullivan's all messed up! Who knows what position he's advocating from moment to moment? But more importantly, is Barack Obama for real? As
his homepage indicates:

Obama supports tough, direct presidential diplomacy with Iran without preconditions. Now is the time to pressure Iran directly to change their troubling behavior. Obama and Biden would offer the Iranian regime a choice. If Iran abandons its nuclear program and support for terrorism, we will offer incentives like membership in the World Trade Organization, economic investments, and a move toward normal diplomatic relations. If Iran continues its troubling behavior, we will step up our economic pressure and political isolation. Seeking this kind of comprehensive settlement with Iran is our best way to make progress.
As James notes at his essay:

Should Obama now be willing to sit down with Iran's leadership to discuss interests vital to us both only on the rather stringent precondition that the mullah's oust Ahmadinejad? That would fly in the fact of his entire foreign policy platform.
See all the debate at Memeorandum.

Hat Tip: Glenn Reynolds.


Mark Harvey said...

If the Iranian Revolution we are witnessing actually succeeds, it will be the end of Czarbie.

Look how much he has aged...either he isn't using Grecian Formula anymore or someone is frosting his hair to make him look what he isn't...wise.

This development in Iran has to be scaring the hell out of this FIC (Fraud In Chief).

AmPowerBlog said...

Thanks Mark ...

Anonymous said...

@ Harvey,

Quite the opposite. It makes his job easier by taking away the main argument of the warmongerlikan party.

Reaganite Republican Resistance said...

Our False Prophet appears to have no idea what a golden opportunity he is passing up... overthrow this evil regime without firing a single shot... get their Armageddon-inspired nuke program off the world stage... and free 30 million people all at one time.

But the boy wonder is too stupid to see it... or somehow just doesn't care?

And isn't this what George W Bush told you was going to happen in the Middle East?

Maybe that's why Barack Obama has so little apparent interest in finishing the job in Iran... no matter how much it benefits the US and free world.

repsac3 said...

I had the same reaction as Mark, hair-wise... Obama looks older, already...(Gotta grab those nuggets of agreement where one can...) Isn't he a little heavier, too?

Joyner seems to be trying to create a teapot tempest.

Yeah, Obama will probably still agree to meet with the leader of Iran, without preconditions.

But that doesn't mean (and in fact has nothing to do with) legitimizing dinnerjacket when he doesn't even have the support of his own people, and I'm surprised that anyone --especially anyone on the right-- would seriously be arguing that Obama ought to recognize dinnerjacket as having any legitimate power, at least as long as the protests are going on, and the election is in dispute. (I'd be curious whether anyone here disagrees, and thinks Obama ought to recognize dinnerjacket as the elected leader of Iran, and whether it makes you fellow "spokesman for the gay-radical nihilist base of the Democratic Party," if you do not.)

Talking with the leaders of a given country (with/without preconditions) is one thing.

Knowing who those leaders are and aren't, and only bestowing the legitimacy that comes with US recognition onto the actual leaders, rather than to anyone with the ability to stage a semi-successful electoral coup, is another.