During the 2008 campaign, Senator Barack Hussein Obama stated he would travel and speak to our “enemies” and engage directly our adversaries in face-to-face talks. Neo-con Hillary Clinton viciously attacked the senator for demeaning the presidency and for jeopardizing its lofty role as world leader. She said presidents must have agendas that can be accomplished and that lower-staff such as secretaries could engage in bilateral talks. This type of old thinking that has characterised her approach to external affairs and that will drive me away from her, if nominated for president, is more reflective of bankrupt realism then the need for international peace and security based not on military strength but humility and diplomatic will.
I met then Senator Obama at a fundraiser in the summer of 2008 at John Rogers house on the Chicago River. Rogers is a tycoon and founder of Ariel Capital Management. His home was beautiful with terraces and balconies. As Mr Obama was moving from guest to guest. I said to him that his position was admirable and that many of the guests on the McLaughlin Group PBS show agreed with him and not with Clinton. He said before darting to the next guest, “I am skinny, but I am tough.” He meant he could handle Clinton’s militaristic criticism of his intent to speak to leaders of nations with whom we have disagreements on a full range of interests.
As president, Barack Obama has increasingly abandoned his idealistic, internationalism as he succumbs to the forces of reaction including the editorial board of the New York Times. The latter on the same day as the summit cancelation, had urged the president not to meet with President Vladimir Putin. Such Cold War nonsense is antithetical to social and human progress. As stewards of the Earth, listen to this!, we need more communication, not less. We need more engagement with the Russian Federation and Iran, not less. While Putin showed his greatness in granting political asylum to the democratic freedom fighter, Mr Edward Snowden, the US is determined not to look weak or as a supplicant and has canceled the meeting. This posturing is the game of nations, not in the best interest of the people who live in those nations.
Putin has set an example for others to emulate in providing protection to Mr Snowden. Whether one disagrees or not with this assertion, the rising tension between the two strategic nuclear powers whether is be over Syria or Iran is best resolved, despite the political ravings of Senator Charles E. Schumer and other “liberals”, through direct negotiation. Schumer should be denounced for advocating the cancelation of the entire G-20 St. Petersburg Summit, September 5-6, 2013. An arrogant, self-centered hawk and a phony who triggered in part the financial melt down with his stupid comments on the financial perils of Indybank, he should as a “liberal” who lusts to be the next majority leader, encourage internationalism, the spirit of world peace and diplomacy over insults that he is so famous for. To call Mr Putin a “schoolyard bully” is FOX news trash talk that is unbecoming a US Senator.
Mr Obama should not play to his base–the warhawks of the Democratic Party or the New York Times that still can’t shake the Judith Miller, disgraced Iraq War reporter, Thomas Friedman prowar, antiMuslim syndrome, and do the right thing: Meet with Putin, discuss their differences, and use his Oslo Nobel Peace Prize as inspiration.