Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Didn't FDR and Truman Talk To Stalin? Didn't Nixon Talk To Mao?

This morning M.J. Rosenberg makes a point that is so obvious, it is profound. We have been so long under the yoke of foreign policy incompetence we forget

A President isn't likely to meet any foreign leader (thug or not) if he or she did not perceive that doing so is in the national interest.
He notes further that
FDR met with Stalin and Nixon with Mao who, between them, killed more innocent people than anyone in history (actually, each dictator alone might have done that). Neither President met with their evil counterpart as a favor to the latter but to advance national interests.
Making her argument the way Hillary does seems to imply that a presidential meeting with a foreign head of state is some kind of reward for good behavior. That is exactly what George Bush and Condi Rice think.

Of course, it should not be surprising that the foreign policy views of George Bush and Hillary Clinton as to when a president should meet with a foreign leader are in harmony. After all both Condi Rice and Madeleine Albright were shaped by their relationships with Josef Korbel -- Madeleine's father and Condi's mentor. I need to read Korbel's books to find out for sure. I do know one thing, yesterday Hillary made Madeleine available to explain just why Obama is naive. I guess Condi was busy.

After 16 years maybe we need some new ideas about when to use Presidential diplomacy?