Obama diplomacy

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  • #1
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http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/8006135.stm


Chavez 'to restore US ambassador'
Mr Chavez says Mr Obama is more intelligent than his predecessor

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez says he expects to send an ambassador back to Washington soon.

Not only this one, but Mahmoud Ahmadinejad also shows respect to Obama. Obama was showing some concern about Roxana Saberi and so

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/04/20/world/middleeast/20iran.html?ref=middleeast

TEHRAN — President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, in a rare effort to intervene in the justice system, urged Tehran’s chief prosecutor on Sunday to fairly examine the cases of an Iranian-American journalist and an Iranian-Canadian blogger.

While one republican thinks Obama shouldn't have greeted Chavez (I guess it's about when Chavez came to Obama at a conference to give him a historical book)

(oops, I thought I am posting to Politics & World Affairs)
 
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  • #2
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"Respect" would be releasing Roxana Saberi...not bragging about 700 centrifuges.

As for Chavez...perhaps Obama believes Chavez is more capable of protecting the environment than reckless US oil companies?

You seem to have forgotten to say something nice about Cuba.
 
  • #3
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"Respect" would be releasing Roxana Saberi...

1) She has other two charges: Working without a license and one more. Now, I don't remember if she is ought to be jailed for now too for those charges
2) I believe Supreme court is not under the president so he cannot do much about it.
3) She was charged for spying why she should be released if it turns out that the charges were real.


not bragging about 700 centrifuges.

Did he brag about it in his this speech?
 
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  • #4
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As for Chavez...perhaps Obama believes Chavez is more capable of protecting the environment than reckless US oil companies?

So Obama shouldn't have greeted him or receive the book from Chavez?
 
  • #5
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http://www.commercialappeal.com/news/2009/apr/18/summit-obama-gets-friendly-chavez/ [Broken]

http://www.philly.com/philly/news/homepage/20090420_Obama_calls_for_changes_as_talks_end.html [Broken]

"Venezuela is a country whose defense budget is probably 1/600th of the United States'. They own Citgo," the retail arm of Venezuela's national oil company, Obama said. "It's unlikely that as a consequence of me shaking hands or having a polite conversation with Mr. Chavez, that we are endangering the strategic interests of the United States."
 
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  • #6
russ_watters
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So Obama shouldn't have greeted him or receive the book from Chavez?
Not sure, but that book wasn't about respect either.

Obama just looks too much like Neville Chamberlain with his foreign policy to me.
 
  • #7
mheslep
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http://www.commercialappeal.com/news/2009/apr/18/summit-obama-gets-friendly-chavez/ [Broken]

http://www.philly.com/philly/news/homepage/20090420_Obama_calls_for_changes_as_talks_end.html [Broken]

"Venezuela is a country whose defense budget is probably 1/600th of the United States'. They own Citgo," the retail arm of Venezuela's national oil company, Obama said. "It's unlikely that as a consequence of me shaking hands or having a polite conversation with Mr. Chavez, that we are endangering the strategic interests of the United States."
I generally like the idea of a less belligerent face on US foreign policy in the form an affable President, but I never expected it to become an apology roadshow. Then there's statements like the one above. Given an age of asymmetric warfare, how can he make statements like this? What was the defense budget ratio to the 911 hijackers and all of their handlers? 1e6:1? Chavez is a documented insurgent backer against his neighbor Columbia. What happened to the election speech mindset shown here:
Inauguration speech said:
...We will not apologize for our way of life, nor will we waver in its defense. And for those who seek to advance their aims by inducing terror and slaughtering innocents, we say to you now that our spirit is stronger and cannot be broken -- you cannot outlast us, and we will defeat you...
What happened to that guy?
 
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  • #8
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I generally like the idea of a less belligerent face on US foreign policy in the form an affable President, but I never expected it to become an apology roadshow. Then there's statements like the one above. Given an age of asymmetric warfare, how can he make statements like this? What was the defense budget ratio to the 911 hijackers and all of their handlers? 1e6:1? Chavez is a documented insurgent backer against his neighbor Columbia. What happened to the election speech mindset shown here:
What happened to that guy?

What happened to the checks for $1,000 that all of the Senior citizens based their vote on...now $250 (I think)...25% of the promises isn't bad...right?:confused:
 
  • #9
misgfool
I generally like the idea of a less belligerent face on US foreign policy in the form an affable President, but I never expected it to become an apology roadshow. Then there's statements like the one above. Given an age of asymmetric warfare, how can he make statements like this?

Perhaps he is unlike many others capable of thinking rationally and keeping a cool head. In the good old days diplomacy was:

Wiki said:
"In an informal or social sense, diplomacy is the employment of tact to gain strategic advantage or to find mutually acceptable solutions to a common challenge, one set of tools being the phrasing of statements in a non-confrontational, or polite manner."

In the "age of asymmetric warfare" it has been:

"You are either with us or against us" or
"I care what 51 percent of the people think about me."
 
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  • #10
misgfool
Not sure, but that book wasn't about respect either.

Obama just looks too much like Neville Chamberlain with his foreign policy to me.

You seem to have forgotten that the majority of world population and money is not in the US. Maybe it is time for you to learn again, that even you need to make compromises.
 
  • #11
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If Obama had a long and successful history of negotiations at a high level or substantial experience planning and implementing global strategies, I might argue we give him the benefit of the doubt with regards to his ground-breaking diplomatic start.

But, I'm not aware of any high level negotiations experience in his portfolio. Seems like a gamble...with potential consequences.
 
  • #12
misgfool
If Obama had a long and successful history of negotiations at a high level or substantial experience planning and implementing global strategies, I might argue we give him the benefit of the doubt with regards to his ground-breaking diplomatic start.

But, I'm not aware of any high level negotiations experience in his portfolio. Seems like a gamble...with potential consequences.

Diplomacy is a poker game.
 
  • #13
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Diplomacy is a poker game.


Is Obama a world class Poker-player?
 
  • #14
misgfool
Is Obama a world class Poker-player?

We don't know that until the game is over, right?
 
  • #15
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We don't know that until the game is over, right?

As I posted...seems like gambling.
 
  • #16
misgfool
As I posted...seems like gambling.

Every once in a while one has to take a step into the unknown.
 
  • #17
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Every once in a while one has to take a step into the unknown.

Then we're in agreement...Obama is taking a gamble?
 
  • #18
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Then we're in agreement...Obama is taking a gamble?

I find it hard to believe that he could do worse than our last president. North Korea got the bomb. Iran almost (I hope it is almost) has the bomb. We are tied down in two wars. Everyone hates us. Two towers in New York get knocked down with great loss of life. The Pentagon gets attacked with great loss of life. The World economy almost collapses…. If Obama does worse than that then we are all dead!!
 
  • #19
MATLABdude
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What did Theodore Roosevelt say? "Talk softly and carry a big stick", i.e. don't go around picking fights and saber rattling, but be ready if worst comes to worst. I don't believe a stated policy of belligerence is any better than a stated policy of appeasement. Talk is cheap, and war expensive; logic dictates that you should only do the latter when you absolutely need to (quick, glorious wars have a nasty habit of being neither)

(Yes, yes, big stick ideology was used in conjunction with manifest destiny and Roosevelt was the one that invaded Cuba and engineered the state of Panama, but the premise isn't a bad one)
 
  • #20
mheslep
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  • #21
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What did Theodore Roosevelt say? "Talk softly and carry a big stick", i.e. don't go around picking fights and saber rattling, but be ready if worst comes to worst. I don't believe a stated policy of belligerence is any better than a stated policy of appeasement. Talk is cheap, and war expensive; logic dictates that you should only do the latter when you absolutely need to (quick, glorious wars have a nasty habit of being neither)

(Yes, yes, big stick ideology was used in conjunction with manifest destiny and Roosevelt was the one that invaded Cuba and engineered the state of Panama, but the premise isn't a bad one)

Are you comparing Obama to Teddy Roosevelt?

FDR related to the economy...perhaps. But, I'd have to say Teddy was a little more "hands on" than Obama.
 
  • #22
MATLABdude
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Sorry, not comparing Obama to Teddy Roosevelt. Just recalling his words.

TR might've been a man's man, big game hunter and a larger than life figure, but he was also an intellectual.
 
  • #23
Skyhunter
Not sure, but that book wasn't about respect either.

Obama just looks too much like Neville Chamberlain with his foreign policy to me.

In what way?

I see very few similarities in style, and the circumstances are dramatically different today than they were 70 years a go.
 
  • #24
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Not sure, but that book wasn't about respect either.

Obama just looks too much like Neville Chamberlain with his foreign policy to me.

Neville Chamberlain was an idiot. He was beat in diplomacy and when he decided to fight, he was beaten by the German military. I get very impatient with people who always bring him up when a reconciliatory instead of aggressive foreign policy is tried by a President.

An aggressive foreign policy didn’t work too well for Hitler did it? It didn’t work too well for Napoleon and it didn’t work well for the British in 1776. Finally it didn’t work well for Bush.

Sometimes diplomacy works and sometimes you have to fight, but countries that fight first have usually ended up in bankruptcy if you take a careful look at history.
 
  • #25
russ_watters
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In what way?
Cozying up to strong-willed adversaries tends to end with the adversaries gaining the advantage.
Skyhunter said:
Neville Chamberlain was an idiot. He was beat in diplomacy and when he decided to fight, he was beaten by the German military.
Agreed.
I get very impatient with people who always bring him up when a reconciliatory instead of aggressive foreign policy is tried by a President.

An aggressive foreign policy didn’t work too well for Hitler did it?
He overplayed his hand, but it worked pretty well for a decade. And just because it ended up failing (and only then because he got too greedy), that doesn't mean it succeeded for Neville, does it? Neville's goal wasn't defeating Hitler, it was preventing the war.

In addition, you're looking at the wrong half of the matrix with most of your examples. There are, at least, two possible ways of acting on each side, giving four possible combinations:

Insane criminal despot vs weakling..........insane criminal despot vs aggressive militaristic leader.
Non-warlike leader (of any other type) vs weakling..........non-warlike leader vs aggressive militaristic leader.

I'm not sure the descriptions are quite accurate, but I think you get the idea. You can't put Hitler or Napoleon on the bottom two boxes of the matrix: they are the guys on the top. The question of what a nice guy vs a nice guy would do isn't relevant here, it is what actions you could take to oppose the not-so-nice guys (I don't care how Obama acted when he went to Germany: only how he acted when he went to Venezuela). And right now, Obama is talking to not-so-nice guys like a weakling, as Neville did.
 
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  • #26
Obama just looks too much like Neville Chamberlain with his foreign policy to me.


This comparison still doesn't make sense (smells like a Godwin). Venezuela is not on the brink of invading any neighboring countries. You conveniently leave out the fact that the country that is about to overrun by extremists is Pakistan and this just happens to be the country that is much more aggressively pursued by Obama than by, for instance, Bush Jr. So if Obama is Neville Chamberlain with Chavez, he must be Churchill with respect to Afghanistan/Pakistan?!
 
  • #27
mheslep
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...Pakistan ... happens to be the country that is much more aggressively pursued by Obama than by, for instance, Bush Jr. ...
What's the basis for this statement? Militarily? Diplomatically? How?
 
  • #28
mheslep
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This comparison still doesn't make sense (smells like a Godwin). Venezuela is not on the brink of invading any neighboring countries. ...

Columbia might disagree.
NYTimes Americas section said:
“There is not the least doubt that the governments of Venezuela and Ecuador have been negotiating with terrorists,” Mr. Ospina said. “Allowing terrorist groups to keep camps on their territory border for the planning and execution of terrorist acts is a crime and a clear violation of international treaties.” Television in Venezuela also broadcast images of tank battalions heading to the border, following a threat by Mr. Chávez on Sunday that Colombia would be inviting war if it carried out an incursion in Venezuela similar to the one on Saturday in a remote Amazonian province of Ecuador that killed 21 guerrillas.
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/03/05/world/americas/05venez.html?_r=1&pagewanted=2
 
  • #29
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The question of what a nice guy vs a nice guy would do isn't relevant here, it is what actions you could take to oppose the not-so-nice guys (I don't care how Obama acted when he went to Germany: only how he acted when he went to Venezuela). And right now, Obama is talking to not-so-nice guys like a weakling, as Neville did.

Well tough talk didn't work too well for Bush considering the results. I am willing to let Obama try a different tack.

And maybe Neville wasn't as stupid as he looks. Throwing the Czechs to the wolves certainly was immoral but it gave Britain an extra year to arm. If the war had started in 1938, who knows how the Battle of Britain would have turned out. It was VERY close as it was. In 1938, Neville might have been saying with his mouth that "Peace was at hand", but his actions (the frantic arming of Britain) said that even he didn't believe it.
 
  • #30
russ_watters
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This comparison still doesn't make sense (smells like a Godwin).
You're not understanding the issue I'm presenting. Goodwin's law doesn't apply here: I'm not talking about Hitler. He's irrelevant. Hitler, Mussolini, Napoleon, whatever. They are all just garden-variety, interchangeable imperialistic despots, with some variation in success and "badness". This isn't even about WWII. What makes Neville Chamberlain the archetype of appeasement, what makes WWII different from WWI, is that he was willing to lose a war without even fighting it. He was hoping that Hitler would stop with annexing a few of his neighbors and decided that that was ok.

Apply the logic of the situation to 1990. Hussein swept through and annexed Kuwait. Evidence implies he had designs on the entire peninsula, but what if he didn't or what if diplomacy would have been able to get him to stop where he was? We live in a world where stealing your neighbors car because you want it is not acceptable and if we had allowed that to stand, this so-called "civilized" world would be a farce. That's the logic that Chaimberlain was willing to accept. The immorality of Chaimberlain's philosophy is what makes me dislike him so much.
Venezuela is not on the brink of invading any neighboring countries.
Maybe, maybe not, but whether things eventually lead to a hot war is besides the point. Cold wars and trade wars require competent diplomacy to deal with. Agressive tactics have to be opposed by aggressive tactics - it isn't fundamentally different from how a poker game works.

Perhaps more important, Venezuela is right now being turned into a dictatorship - doesn't the world community have the responsibility to try not to encourage that? By engaging a criminal like Chavez as an equal, they allow him to gain stature at home that he wouldn't otherwise have. We become complicit in the death of the Venezuelan democracy by engaging him.
You conveniently leave out the fact that the country that is about to overrun by extremists is Pakistan and this just happens to be the country that is much more aggressively pursued by Obama than by, for instance, Bush Jr.
I'd like to see some evidence of that too. As far as I can tell, all Obama has done with Pakistan is to continue Bush's policy of occasional pursuit and drone attacks.
So if Obama is Neville Chamberlain with Chavez, he must be Churchill with respect to Afghanistan/Pakistan?!
Well now you threw Afghanistan in there too - you do remember how this started, right? Bush invaded and conquered Afghanistan. What's left is trying to build a new, stable country. Obama is continuing Bush's policy only.

Now some may bring up the shifting of troops from Iraq to Afghanistan and call it a substantive change, but it isn't. After the Iraq surge was shown to have worked, Bush started drawing-down the troops in Iraq. After a while, he then started increasing them in Afghanistan. Increasing troop levels in Afghanistan more as the Iraq war gets phased-out is exactly the path that Bush laid-out for Obama.

Here's an article about the shifting of troops from July of last year: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/2420045/US-to-bolster-Afghanistan-troop-numbers.html
 

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