Saturday, November 10, 2007

Obama and Iran, Part III

My discussion with Jeromy continues from here.

You know I had to respond to this one. :)

I would have been disappointed if you hadn't.

1. Diplomacy is not like going out to dinner with a buddy. Every action, every word, every small iota has serious insinuations. Just sitting down at a public table with another country speaks volumes about the relationship with that country.

Hmmm...I don't think the mere fact of opening a dialog with a nation says anything other than "we are willing to talk." It doesn't mean we agree with them on anything. It doesn't mean we like or condone their actions. It just means we're not above talking to anyone, nor should we be.

Reward them with positive changes in behavior? That's no different than not sitting at a public forum with them because of previously bad behavior. Same attitude, different tact.

I disagree. Not talking with them gives us an arrogant, "better than you" posture. That's not going to make matters any better. Rewarding good behavior is also a better tactic than punishing bad behavior.

3. Regarding Obama personally- Although I probably would pay attention to a 500- page dissertation on American-Iranian relations, I would settle for a two-page document with just a couple of specifics. Just three years ago Obama was singing a different tune , talking about missile strikes, sanctions, and the unpredicability of the Iranian government. Three years ago it was popular to take a "tough stand" against Iran, now its popular to play the diplomatic card.

I don't think Obama was really "singing a different tune" then. In the link you gave, Obama talked about using missile strikes as a last resort if Iran was on the verge of getting nukes. He talked about going through the UN and using economic sanctions first. In the story I originally linked to, Obama talks about using "carrots and sticks" in working with Iran. Sounds like the same kind of thing to me.

And you're right, the argument I made could be said about most politicians because that's the nature of the game. And yet you said in your post after the quote that you support Obama exactly because of the kind of this kind of statement. If statements like this ARE generic and meant to gain favor, is it wise to base your support for him on such rhetoric?

If I said I wasn't going to support any politician who played the game of politics, well then I'd never support any politician. I try to look at their track record and listen to them. From what I have seen, Obama does not seem to be the same kind of pandering pol as we usually see. I don't think he's perfect by any means. I definitely have my disagreements with him on issues. However, I think he is by far the best candidate in either party running right now.

Do we "take our ball and go home" because Iran's not playing by the rules? Absolutely not. But do we formally sit down at the world trade and commerce table with them without recognizing the oppression, torture, and hatred that flows from the hands and mouths of the Iranian government? How is it that the same people who are ready to throw Bush out for water boarding (I count myself in this group) are also willing to legitimize a man and government who openly admits, even glorifies, decades of atrocities and torture?

Cold shouldering is not the answer, but a koom-bay-a session, as Obama seems to suggest, is not the answer either.

Obama is not talking about legitimizing the Iranian regime. He is talking about "changes in behavior." He is also talking about using "carrots and sticks." That doesn't sound like Kum Bah Yah to me, but like realpolitik.

As for Obama- I hope he gets the Democratic nomination, because I still think he's the lesser of the many mistakes that we could make. But I am absolutely not convinced of his true intent and goals. His speeches are simply pages ripped out of the JFK and MLK, Jr. playbooks, which sound great....but are they backed by conviction or merely a ploy to win an election? Time will tell...

I thought I was supposed to be the cynic. As I said, I don't think Obama is the Second Coming or anything like that. However, there is absolutely no way to be sure of any candidate until they are in office. We have to make our best judgment and pray it is correct. I've been trying to pay attention to all of the candidates as best I can and right now, I am convinced Obama is the best one. Time will tell, eh?

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