“In a formal written statement, McCain also took a shot at Obama, the Democratic front-runner who renewed his offer to speak to leaders of US foes without preconditions in a campaign debate with rival Hillary Clinton in Texas.
“‘So Raul Castro gets an audience with an American president, and all the prestige such a meeting confers, without having to release political prisoners, allow free media, political parties, and labor unions, or schedule internationally monitored free elections,’ McCain said.
“Meet, talk, and hope may be a sound approach in a state legislature, but it is dangerously naive in international diplomacy where the oppressed look to America for hope and adversaries wish us ill.”
I’m not sure if this kind of statement is Orwellian or simply unadalterated ignorance coming from a man who recently stated that Vladimir Putin was the President of Germany, and that he’d just returned form a meeting with German President Putin not too long ago.
Either way, perhaps the presumptive nominee for the Republican Party is in need of a history lesson. U.S. Presidents have long histories meeting with brutal tyrants, dictators, presidents for life and absolute monarchs quite regularly, not one of whom ever once had to release political prisoners, allow free media, political parties, and labor unions, or schedule internationally monitored free elections in order to have the meeting with the U.S. President.
Here are just a few examples of U.S. presidents meeting, shaking hands or dining with some of the most brutal human beings to rule nations since the end of the Second World War. My personal favourite is the one of LBJ meeting with brutal authoritarian dictators Park Chung Hee of South Korea AND Ferdinand Marcos of The Philippines at the same time. Meeting with one brutal dictator is all well and good, but when you’re so overbooked that you’ve got to double up on your meetings with brutal dictators, now that‘s art.
Official meetings on behalf of the U.S. President: