• The Heritage Network
    • Resize:
    • A
    • A
    • A
  • Donate
  • So, Talk Is Not Enough

    It’s not going to be as easy as Obama thought.

    As candidate, he received kudos for saying that “strong presidents and strong countries … talk to their adversaries,” implying that the Bush Administration did not even try. He promised he would sit down with Iran, for example, to settle our differences over its nuclear weapons program. He would talk to Russia to resolve our differences over missile defenses in Europe. All that was needed was for the U.S. to “rediscover the power of our diplomacy” and stop treating those who hate the U.S., well, as rogues.

    Well, he hasn’t been in office very long, and already, his ‘new’ strategy of diplomacy and talking to rogues is faltering.

    As the Washington Post reported yesterday, “Iranian leaders said Wednesday that President Obama follows the ‘crooked ways’ of his predecessor, repeated earlier warnings that Iranian missiles could reach Israel and reiterated that the Holocaust was ‘a lie.’”

    On Tuesday, Russian President Dmitri Medvedev said, he is willing to talk, but “[h]aggling’” is “not productive….If the Obama administration showed ‘common sense’ in proposing a ‘common shield against all types of threats’ and reconsidered its plans of a missile defence system which could target Russia, Moscow would be prepared to negotiate.”

    So much for hoping for change just because the White House changed hands. The Obama administration’s plan to differentiate itself from Bush’s isn’t fooling many friends or enemies. Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, was speaking for the first time about the Obama administration. So his saying that Obama is already on “the wrong path,” and that America’s continued support for Israel is a “cancerous tumor” did not fall on deaf ears. He added insult to injury when he said the policies of “the new American president, who came to office with the slogan of bringing change in the policies of the Bush administration,” were underwriting “state terrorism, injustice, oppression and a 22-day-long massacre of hundreds of Palestinian men, women and children.” Khamenei went on to deny the Holocaust and express uncompromising support for such “resistance movements” as Hezbollah and Hamas.

    For Russia, the fact that the White House hand delivered a secret letter from President Obama a month ago to President Medvedev was also rebuffed. The letter hinted that if Russia cooperated with the U.S. in halting Tehran’s atomic aspirations, then the U.S. would walk back from its plans to field missile defenses in Europe. Medvedev, who acknowledged getting the note, roundly rejected any such linkages.

    Taken together, these signals should give the new team in Washington pause. Improving U.S.–Russian relations and better behavior by Tehran is desirable, but talk is never enough with rogues who sense weakness on their opponent’s part. As many American leaders have found out, you need hard military strength backing up your soft power strategies to get our adversaries’ attention—let alone to get them to want to talk.

    Posted in Security [slideshow_deploy]

    5 Responses to So, Talk Is Not Enough

    1. Franklin's Lock says:

      What is sad is that so many Republicans said Obama’s diplomacy would not work. History shows that negotiations with rogue regimes do not work. This is no surprise to us, but, sadly, it is to Obama and Democrats. These diplomatic blunders undermine our standing in the world and shows weakness in critical times. This is dangerous that they are continuing these naïve and arrogant plans.

      http://franklinslocke.blogspot.com/

    2. Lance says:

      And now, Hillary Clinton has confirmed that Iran will have a prominent role to play in determining the future of Afghanistan, despite Iran's ties to Al Qaeda: http://obamareport.blogspot.com/2009/03/clinton-o

      Good grief!

    3. Spiritof76, New Hamp says:

      Obama foreign policy is amateurish and will become a laughing stock in a year or so. They are trying to curry favor with Syria. They are also trying being nice with Iran and Russia. They are so naive to think that those countries share the same hatred that they had for Bush. Those countries view US either as the great Satan or a bully. All they care about is to spread their influence at the expense of the US.

    4. Ron, Derry NH says:

      How is it that the world isn't as enamored with Barack as our press was?

      I thought for sure that with all the experience he brings and new strategies for peace he learned somewhere off world, that all would see him for what he sees in himself. Me thinks the gas that the press used to inflate the mirage, is just not being digested or seen by the rest of the world. Perhaps the teleprompter isn't as strong a weapon as first thought.

      A little smoke screen in a breeze is as ineffective as a prayer robe in a gun fight. The trick now is does Barack have any real talent to fit the shoes he has put on, or are they too formed from vapors of self grandeur, to have any actual substance?

    5. Arturo, DFW Metrople says:

      I'm all for boosting the Defence budget and missile defence etc., but I don't hear very much about what we are doing about the possability of some fruitcake with a nuke in a suitcase. That to me is more frightening and seemingly more possible than these nut cases in S.Korea and Iran. At least if a missile is fired off we would know where it came from, maybe, however in the other event who or whom would we target?

    Comments are subject to approval and moderation. We remind everyone that The Heritage Foundation promotes a civil society where ideas and debate flourish. Please be respectful of each other and the subjects of any criticism. While we may not always agree on policy, we should all agree that being appropriately informed is everyone's intention visiting this site. Profanity, lewdness, personal attacks, and other forms of incivility will not be tolerated. Please keep your thoughts brief and avoid ALL CAPS. While we respect your first amendment rights, we are obligated to our readers to maintain these standards. Thanks for joining the conversation.

    Big Government Is NOT the Answer

    Your tax dollars are being spent on programs that we really don't need.

    I Agree I Disagree ×

    Get Heritage In Your Inbox — FREE!

    Heritage Foundation e-mails keep you updated on the ongoing policy battles in Washington and around the country.

    ×