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McCain Takes Another Whack at Obama-A'jad Meeting

6:48 PM, May 21, 2008 • By MICHAEL GOLDFARB
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The key graph in the statement:

"After Senator Obama's own advisors and supporters backtracked from his stated desire to hold summit meetings with the leaders of the world's worst regimes, Senator Obama himself has begun to reinterpret his stand. He now claims that some 'fear' to 'negotiate' with the likes of Iranian President Ahmadinejad, who has called Israel a 'stinking corpse' or Ayatollah Khamenei, who called Israel a 'cancerous tumor.' I have news for Senator Obama: I have met some very bad people before in my life. It is not fear that drives my opposition to unconditional meetings with Ahmadinejad, Khamenei, Kim Jong Il, and Raul Castro; rather it is my clear understanding that such a course will fail to eliminate the threat posed by these rogue regimes. I don't fear to negotiate. Instead I have the knowledge and experience to understand the dangerous consequences of a naive approach to Presidential summits based entirely on emotion.

McCain has fine tuned the attack a bit by focusing on what it is Obama hopes to achieve by holding direct and unconditional talks with Ahmadinejad, among other tyrants. Perhaps John Bolton's latest column has something to do with this new tack. Obama insists that we cannot be afraid to talk, implying that cowardice plays some role in McCain's aversion to engagement with rogue states--a bizarre charge to make against a former POW. Meanwhile, Obama isn't quite showing the courage of his earlier convictions as he continues to waffle on the question and can't quite bring himself to give a straight answer.

At some point, Obama will be forced to explain what his goals are. As Bolton says, "Negotiation is not a policy. It is a technique." And surely Obama has goals, but one suspects they are so unrealistic--diplomatic recognition of Israel, responsible participation in Iraq, a halt to nuclear weapons development--that Obama will, in fact, look naive and reckless. Unless Larry Rohter is reporting is the story.