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Posted by on Feb 4, 2008 in At TMV | 2 comments

Look Who’s Talking

Clinton and Obama have dramatically different visions for American foreign policy. One of the key policy distinctions between the two candidates is their differing views on the issue of negotiating with unsavory foreign leaders. Clinton has argued for a policy of continuity with the current administration — that it is a mistake to sit down, without preconditions, with the likes of Hugo Chavez, Bashar al-Assad, or Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Obama, for his part, believes that establishing preconditions is like putting the cart before the horse.

Analyst Matt Eckel, over at his blog, makes one of the clearest arguments I’ve read in support of Obama’s position. Check it out.

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  • Jammer

    I am not sure this is an accurate statement of Clinton’s policy. As I understand it, she has said that she would not sit down with them without prior advance work and lower level negotiations, so that when the leaders met they could accomplish something, as opposed to the leaders doing the preliminary negotiation or just free for all’ing it. There is risk in such a summit devolving to propaganda points and no progress, which is why you never see them. Even the author in his article says “as best I can determine” Clinton wants preconditions, i.e. changes in behavior by a regime before negotiations. He links to nothing in support. I reiterate that I do not believe Clinton insists on prior changes in behavior before negotiations. Frankly, I dont think Obama meant he would meet with out advance work or prior negotiations, and I thought it was a poor issue choice for Hillary to make the first dispute between her and Obama.

  • StockBoySF

    Jammer- I agree (sort of) with you. I’m not sure how she characterizes (or qualifies) any requirements before meeting with unsavory leaders, whether it is groundwork or true preconditions. However I do seem to recall that in one of the more recent debates Hillary chided Obama for not insisting on preconditions. But now that I’m thinking of that I’m not sure if I am actually remembering that accurately. I think I am remembering it accurately because upon hearing it my thought was along the lines of, “Yeah, she’s just trying to show she is tough.”

    Come to think about it- if neither of us are sure what Hillary’s position is on negotiations, she hasn’t made a clear statement. Which just allows her to play choose which side she wants to be on come the general election. It’s a political ploy.

    Naturally there would be advance work for such meetings with Obama. Obama would not take the hard-headed approach that Bush has. We’ve all seen how well Bush’s approach has worked out for us….

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