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Obama Will Meet With Castro...If He Agrees to All Our Demands

6:09 PM, May 23, 2008 • By MICHAEL GOLDFARB
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Obama talks about a possible meeting with Raul Castro:

HOLLIS: If I can ask one more question. Sort of a follow-up to comments you made yesterday. Will you meet one-on-one with Raul Castro and other leaders of the Cuban government?

OBAMA: Not immediately. But what I've said is that if we start low-level talks, and at the diplomatic levels, to explore areas of potential mutual interest, then that's something we should continue. Our primary interest is making sure the people of Cuba are free. Freedom of religion, of press, travel, and to organize politically, and that would be the agenda. We would press them. If there appeared to be progress in the area of liberalization--as I've said repeatedly, I would be willing, if it is going to move the progress, to move forward, with any leader that is willing to consider these issues.

So is a willingness to "consider these issues," i.e. freedom of religion, of press, travel, and to organize politically, now considered "preparation" for a meeting with the leader of Cuba? Because those sound like preconditions.

This is not a complicated issue. Will Obama meet with A'jad, Castro, Kim Jong-Il, and Bashar Assad without preconditions? And if so, what on earth does he mean by "preparations." If preparations involve these leaders surrendering on every major issue of contention, how is Obama's position any different that President Bush's?