During a 2008 Presidential debate (July 24, 2007), then-Senator Obama was asked: “Would you be willing to meet separately, without precondition, during the first year of your administration, in Washington or anywhere else, with the leaders of Iran, Syria, Venezuela, Cuba and North Korea, in order to bridge the gap that divides our countries?” In response, Obama said: “I would. And the reason is this, that the notion that somehow not talking to countries is punishment to them — which has been the guiding diplomatic principle of this administration — is ridiculous.”
For this assignment, you are encouraged to have a robust discussion of this very important issue. Should the political and diplomatic leaders of the United States (including the President, and/or the Secretary of State) meet with our “adversaries” without preconditions? In addition to the nations listed above, also consider Hamas in the Middle East (especially as it concerns the Arab-Israeli peace process) or “moderate” factions of the Taliban (in Afghanistan or Pakistan)? Please provide a well-reasoned, well-articulated rationale for your response.