Obama-Nation I: Negotiating with Terrorists

Well, since it’s now clear who the ’08 Presidential Candidates will be, I decided it’s time to start a series of articles on the candidates.  Beginning with Barack Obama, the lovable, cuddly candidate from Illinois that everyone loves to love.

Let’s start with negotiating with terrorists.  Does Obama support negotiation with terrorists?  Curiously, I cannot find any place on record where he definitively states that he does not support negotiating with terrorists.  Let’s assume that he wouldn’t (which may or may not be a safe assumption, but I’ll give him the benefit of doubt).

On his own web site is a series of backpedaling remarks regarding negotiations with Iran:

Obama was asked "Would you be willing to meet
separately, without precondition, during the first year of your
administration, in Washington or anywhere else, with the leaders of
Iran, Syria, Venezuela, Cuba and North Korea, in order to bridge the
gap that divides our countries?" Obama responded, "I would."

and…

Asked if he were still willing to meet without pre-condition during
your [sic] first year with Fidel Castro, Kim Jung Il, Hugo Chavez, Obama
said, "I do."

As others have pointed out, in these statements, Obama is not saying that he will meet with terrorists per se, but rather with known state sponsors of terrorism.  This is, of course, a reversal of the Bush doctrine that holds state sponsors of terrorists responsible for the actions of the terrorists they support.

In other statements on his website, Obama "clarifies" that "preconditions" are not the same as "preparations":

Obviously, there is a difference between pre-conditions and
preparation. Pre-conditions, which was what the question was in that
debate, means that we won’t meet with people unless they’ve already
agreed to the very things that we expect to be meeting with them about.

Right.  In particular, we say "are you willing under any conditions to agree to stop sponsoring Islamic terrorism" and if they say "no" then we don’t have anything left to talk about, since we don’t negotiate with terrorists.

Apparently, Obama understands this:

We must
not negotiate with a terrorist group intent on Israel’s destruction. We
should only sit down with Hamas if they renounce terrorism, recognize
Israel’s right to exist and abide by past agreements.

Wait.  That sounded like a precondition to me.  I’m confused.

What makes it patently clear that Obama just doesn’t get it is this asinine statement in regard to dealing with states like Iran and North Korea:

Obama said, "The approach I am suggesting, the tough but engaged
diplomacy that I am suggesting is the kind that was carried out by John
Kennedy, it was carried out by Richard Nixon, and it was carried out by
Ronald Reagan."

Absolutely and completely incorrect.  In particular, Reagan’s approach to state sponsors of terrorism was essentially the Bush doctrine.  Just ask Gaddafi.

Regardless of his misunderstanding of political history, Obama is clearly indicating his position supporting negotiation with state sponsors of terrorism.

Am I the only one who understands that while you can negotiate with adversaries, you can’t negotiate with nutcases?  Doesn’t everyone understand this?  Or do we now need to argue whether Hugo Chavez, Kim Jung Il, and Ahmadinejad are nutcases?

So, will Obama negotiate with state sponsors of terrorism?  His answer: an unqualified YES.  Will he negotiate with the terrorists themselves?  His answer: a qualified NO.

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