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.”