One of Obama's objectives entering the White House was to show that dialogue could be more effective than confrontation with US adversaries. From Iran to Burma, here's how it's going.
When Barack Obama entered the White House in January 2009 on the heels of George W. Bush, one of his objectives was to demonstrate that engaging in a dialogue with America’s adversaries could be more effective than confrontation in addressing such prickly foreign policy concerns as nuclear proliferation and authoritarian regimes.
Some three years later, the media salvos President Obama launched this week against Venezuelan strong man Hugo Chavez were a small but striking reminder that the “talking with the enemy” approach has had few successes.
Here’s how Mr. Obama’s “let’s talk, not fight” policy has fared with five countries at the top of America’s adversaries list:
The administration insists it is still on the dual-track approach of dialogue and pressure when it comes to perhaps America’s No. 1 adversary, Iran. But the halting stabs at dialogue the US made with Iran in Obama’s first year have ceased, and these days key officials seem loath to utter the D word as they discuss toughened financial sanctions, oil-products embargoes, and other punitive measures aimed at halting Iran’s nuclear program.
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