So it turns out that Barack Obama’s proposal to talk to countries like Iran, North Korea, Syria, Venezuela and Cuba turns out to be remarkably popular. His proposal draws 48 percent support among Republicans and 40-60 point margins among independents and Democrats. I’ve always been a little curious about why John McCain has chosen to make this such a major line of attack against Obama, but now I’m really confused. Its an argument that McCain can’t win. Not only is his position not at all popular, but it ties him to Bush, which is never good for him.
I’m really quite heartened by this result. Talking to countries that we don’t agree with makes a lot of sense. We obviously shouldn’t be giving up major concessions that are against our interests, but there are simply no major downsides to talking to our enemies. If Chavez, Castro, Kim and company really are as crazy as the right claims they are then they won’t give any concessions and we won’t be any worse off than before. In fact, we’d even be a little better, because the US would be seen as reaching out to find constructive solutions, in sharp opposition to the position we’ve taken under Bush. But if our enemies really aren’t as crazy as the crazies in the US discourse want us to think they are and in fact are open to bargaining in search of mutually advantageous solutions, then the US comes out massively ahead. Its good to know that Americans get it.