He said what?
Check out this Q and A between ABC News’ Jake Tapper and Senator Obama, in particulare, this question and answer:
TAPPER: In recent days, it has seemed that some of your staffers and supporters have walked back from your statement that you would be willing to meet with the leaders of rogue nations, countries hostile to the U.S., without preconditions. Your foreign policy adviser Susan Rice said you wouldn’t necessarily meet with Ahmadinejad, Sen. Daschle said of course there would be conditions — (Obama interrupts)
OBAMA: You know, Jake, I have to say I completely disagree that people have been walking back from anything. They may be correcting the characterizations or distortions of John McCain or others of what I said. What I said was I would meet with our adversaries including Iran, including Venezula, including Cuba, including North Korea, without preconditions but that does not mean without preparation.
TAPPER: Well, what’s the difference?
OBAMA: There’s a huge difference. When you talk about Iran, for example, the Bush administration’s position has been we won’t have talks with Iran until they agree to everything we want to them to agree to. That’s not diplomacy. That’s asking them to do what they say and then acknowledge we are willing to meet with them. That’s not how diplomacy works. That’s not how Ronald Reagan operated with Gorbachev or Kennedy with Khruschev or Nixon with Mao.
There are a whole seris of steps that need to be taken before you have a presidential meeting but that doesn’t mean you expect the other side to agree to every item on your list.
*Sigh.* Any Obamaspeak translators out there willing to interpret this for me? I’m simply at a loss.
And why does he keep bringing up Kennedy’s meeting with Khrushchev as if it advances his argument? History tells us what Obama will not:
Presidential meetings carry consequences, for good and ill. Leaders are subject to misjudgment and miscalculation. Soviet boss Nikita Khrushchev saw John Kennedy as weak after the Bay of Pigs fiasco and left a 1961 summit over Berlin with his belief about the young president confirmed. According to the New York Times, “Kennedy naively thought he could make a breakthrough with face-to-face talks.” Two months later, the Berlin Wall went up. The next year, Khrushchev moved to put missiles in Cuba. He was wrong about Kennedy, but it took the Cuban missile crisis to convince him. This is not an argument against summits, only a cautionary tale of how they can go wrong.
And speaking of history, now is as good a time as any to re-post Jack Kelly’s smackdown of Obama’s “no preconditions” argument.