Talking to foreign leaders is DANGEROUS?!

McCain uttered this sentiment tonight, and he’s uttered several times previously. It seems to be a fairly common Republican tenet (at least to my ears), although I’d be willing to admit it’s not that widespread if shown otherwise.

My point here is this: McCain thinks talking to foreign leaders without condition is dangerous?? Are you absolutely not kidding me? Frankly, if McCain hadn’t mentioned this several times before, I honestly would have thought he was joking. I’ll tell you what’s dangerous. Playing with fireworks. Running with scissors. Putting a hand grenade in your mouth. Those things are dangerous, but engaging in discourse with foreign leaders with whom you happen to disagree with is most assuredly not.

I did not buy his line about “legitimizing” their vitriolic statements in the slightest (in particular, the statements made about Israel by Ahmadinejad). Whether you like it or not, these difficult/controversial/outright aggressive personalities are the heads of state. Slamming the door on them and refusing to communicate is not going to change anything. I get the impression that McCain thinks that by refusing to communicate with “rogue” nations that their leaders will have an epiphany, see the error in their ways, step down from office, and institute a pro-American democracy. Clearly, this is a ridiculous notion. The only effect I can see such a closed-door policy having is negative. Really, does the silent treatment work on anyone over the age of five?

In the debate tonight, McCain said that his idea of “preconditions” necessary for diplomatic discussions to take place involve the nation in question to agree to a whole host of demands from the United States. To my way of thinking, the whole idea of diplomatic discussions is to work towards achieving these terms. To mandate that a country make such concessions before ever talking to them is putting the cart before the horse. Furthermore, by not opening communication lines, you risk shutting them out in the event that they do decide to become a peaceful member of the world community. Also, you risk being blindsided by any surprises they may pull.

This is one of the main reasons I won’t be voting for McCain in November. I think his foreign policy ideas are foolish, naive, and, to use his own diction, “dangerous.”

Which is and should be a good way for him to be told to go fuck himself. In a diplomatic way. He’s basically continuing to espouse the bully philosophy of foreign relations

The point of revoking diplomatic relations is to demonstrate that such a country has done something so egregious that it warrants such a drastic step. How does it benefit the country that revoked relations to go back to the table without a remedy to the problems that led them to leave? What a coup it would be if Iran could claim that they made the US blink first. Might that lead to others doing the same, weakening our real and perceived power?

I’m somewhat torn on the issue. On the one hand, that’s the way it’s always been done and it makes sense to me. On the other hand, when it comes to something as serious as nuclear proliferation it might be worth exploring. In any event, it sets a dangerous precedent, and may actually turn out quite badly. We won’t know for sure until (or if) it happens.

If you have a dispute with a country, you should talk to them. But if you insist that they give up their side in the argument to be entitled to sit with you, you will be alone at the table.
Bush thought Iran should stop nuclear enrichment. They told them that they would talk with them only if they quit enriching first . What is there to talk about if they do that. ? dumb.

And let’s recall how that happened in the case of Iran - they chose to use our diplomats as hostages and bargaining tools in 1979 - an event still commemorated there.

I’m not against low level meetings, but there has to be lots of grunt work done before a US-Iran presidential summit. Obama allows for groundwork but he won’t say he won’t personally meet with leaders there unless certain conditions are met.

Personally, I think it shows some cards in your hand unnecessarily early.

What conditions of ours do you believe should be met by Iran?

My father must’ve asked himself a similar question once. Said I was “grounded forever,” only later realizing how impractical a punishment that was. In some ways, a punishment for him. Probably why he eventually relented.

McCain and Bush have been far too concerned with “sending the wrong message”, and not very focused on actually achieving any diplomatic progress. They have second guessed themselves into paralysis because of a fear that anything proactive might be taken the wrong way. It is clear they avoid diplomacy because they aren’t very good at it. Smart bombs are more predictable than actually negotiating with an adversary.

Not according to Ronald Reagan.

Hmmmm, sounds familiar.

When you hear “without conditions”, what is really meant is “without them changing their tune and having a chance for some serious progress.” In toher words, what we’re saying is, there’s no point in diplomacy when fundamental issues are still irrevocably unresolvable. To us, Iran is a dangerous nation cotrolled by greed-filled, tyrannous theocrats. To them, we are implacable enemies to everything they stand for. We have diametrically opposed goas and interests.

Under such conditions, the best you can hope for is that neither side feels the need to extirpate the other.

“Talking” already goes on, all the time. American diplomats are in contact with Iranian diplomats all the time.

NOBODY, including McCain, is saying there should be no communication between the U.S. and Iran.

On the other hand, there’s absolutely NO reason to provide the Iranian leadership with the photo ops and perceived honor of a formal state visit.

Thank you, gonznomax, for putting my point much more simply. This is exactly what I’m getting at.

Exactly what has Spain done to antagonize McCain? Obama blew a fastball by McCain last night and he just stood there like the house on the side of the road. Spain? A NATO ally? Why would an American president not meet with his Spanish counterpart? Makes no sense to me.

Regarding rogue states, if our position is that we can’t talk unless they knuckle under first, that isn’t going to get us anywhere.

It shows no cards at all to say “I might meet with you, or I might not.”

This entire dispute is stupid, and it’s completey invented by the McCain campaign (and in fairness I thought McCain did fine at the debate.) Obama’s position on the matter is not, and has never been, “I’m going to give Iran a big welcome and a formal conference,” it’s “We’ll meet with anyone if it helps the United States.” Never has he said he plans to have a formal sitdown with Ahmadinejad. It’s not really much of a position beyond the ludicrously obvious; are you saying he SHOULDN’T meet with someone even if it helps the USA? McCain’s argument against this amounts to hanging on a phrase and pretending it means something it does not.

I think that if Obama met face to face with a recalcitrant foreign leader, there is something to be gained. I think he has an amazing ability to find out what people really want that he can give them and getting from them what he needs that they can give him. I also think that he can do that without giving in on things we really care about. He can find common ground where no else has.

He got video cameras in police interrogations here. That was something I thought I would never see. Police opposed it and no one wanted to be against the police. But it was a good idea, and he worked to get others in both parties to see it, and brought them together so they could work out a law that they could vote for and would do some good. Now even the police realize it is good for them.

Why even have a head of state if not to meet with other heads of state?

Don’t you understand, people, the American President is the leader of the free world, the most important person anywhere, ever.

The dust from his shoes is more valuable than gold. Just touching the hems of his garments glorifies you. Actually having him talk to you is akin to divine anointment.

And you all expect that having another leader sit down with the President doesn’t elevate that leader to a level of angelic radiance.

Oh yes they do. Any communication whatsoever would certainly be spun by the anti-communicators as unacceptable dialog no matter how low-level.

And you’re basing this on…what?

I mean, besides his messiah status :rolleyes:

We’re talking about a country whose people, who are in most ways otherwise normal, voted a religious fundamentalist into office who is not up to the job, who keeps spewing out talking points that play to his base, but which makes him look insane or at least a man of poor judgment in the eyes of the rest of the world.

It makes it really hard for us to be taken seriously. Fortunately, there’s a good chance we’ll soon have a statesman in office and we’ll take advantage of the Iranian people’s good will towards Americans in general.

“Punishing” countries by not talking to their leaders is incredibly stupid. Abraham Lincoln himself said that we destroy our enemies by making them our friends. Hard to do without talking to them.

Because finding a remedy to the problems that led them to leave should be one of the goals of diplomacy.

If “blinking” constitutes “entering negotiations without preconditions”, then let’s blink away. Putting our fingers in our ears, and saying “I don’t hear you” to these leaders makes us look a lot weaker, IMO.

We can’t claim that we’ve “exhausted all options” (before going to war, or any other extreme scenario), if we put prerequisites on our diplomacy.