During the campaign Obama was often lambasted by John McCain for his stances on foreign policy. Specifically his plans to immediately talk with many of America’s traditional enemies without preconditions was seen as dangerous and naive, as the mere fact of even talking with the American president is the equivalent of the direct blessing of god for many “disadvantaged” nations [/sarcasm]. But so far Obama’s diplomatic overtures seem to be bearing fruit: as his European tour showed he’s managed to convince most of our allies to be our allies again, and now our adversaries are lining up to get their share. Iran, Venezuela, and Cuba have all stated in the past week that they’d be open to improved relations with the US, with Raul Castro even going so far as to say that “everything is on the table” in regards to negotiations on the embargo. For those unaware, the mere statement of such a thing is abosolutely unheard of from either Castro, and the fact that Raul has not yet been denounced is itself a tacit nod of approval from Fidel.

However, it’s not all sunshine. Iran is warming from a combination of Obama’s own overtures and the fact that Mahmoud Ahmadinijad is facing extremely tough reelection prospects and may be seeking to soften his image somewhat in order to counteract years of anti-US bluster that have seen further sanctions and no sign of his promised economic improvements. With oil still nowhere near it’s legendary highs of last year the Iranian economy remains squarely in the toilet and so he needs reengagement with the US in order to be able to hang is hat on something. Not wishing to reward him, don’t expect the Obama administration to make any actual moves on this matter until after the elections in June. As for Chavez, despite expectations that Venezuela would be one of many countries (more like all of them) that would experience improved relations with the US following bush’s exit, but alas Chavez remains as fiery as ever before. He remains extremely resentful over what he beleives was US involvement in his brief ouster in 2002, but the challenge for him now is how to effectively hate on a US President now that the rest of the world no longer shares the same sentiment. This will be especially tough since Obama has now embarked on a tour of Latin America, in hopes of cutting a diplomatic swath there as he did in Europe.

I’ll concede that talking is one thing, and results quite another. It’s an improvement by itself that many leaders are actually willing to talk about the US without relfexively sneering, although certain leaders remain quite insane. But then what Kim Jong-Il was after was never food for his own fat ass his people, or even respect from the international community. All he ever wanted was Madeleine Albright’s love.

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