UPDATE: Here's an article about Obama's outreach to
As a presidential candidate, Mr. Obama declared himself open to dialogue even with intransigent states like Iran. But there is little diplomatic nicety to be seen these days, as the administration presses tough new sanctions aimed at the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps in Iran, and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton warned Monday of a drift toward a military dictatorship.
Ray Takeyh, a former Iran adviser to the Obama administration, said administration officials were learning from experience.
“There was a thesis a year ago that the differences between the United States and Iran was subject to diplomatic mediation, that they could find areas of common experience, that we were ready to have a dialogue with each other,” Mr. Takeyh said, but “those anticipations discounted the extent how the Iranian theocracy views engagement with the United States as a threat to its ideological identity.”
And if Mrs. Clinton is correct that the Revolutionary Guards, not the politicians or the clerics, are becoming the central power in Iran, the prospects for rapprochement can only look worse.
Not that Iran’s political and religious leaders, so far, have demonstrated much interest in Mr. Obama’s outreach.
Instead, administration officials say, the biggest benefit of Mr. Obama’s engagement policy now is not dialogue or understanding with adversaries, but simply a defusing of a worldwide view that the United States is part of the problem, a demonstration that the problem is Tehran’s intransigence, not Washington’s pique.
“What the president has achieved is that he has outed Iran,” a senior administration official said Friday. He said Iran, by refusing to respond positively, had exposed itself as uninterested in a better relationship with the United States.
That is now the central point of the new White House outlook on engagement, and it extends, administration officials say, to Venezuela, North Korea and Cuba as well. Mr. Obama, for instance, was criticized for shaking hands with Venezuela’s president, Hugo Chávez,at a summit meeting in Trinidad and Tobago last year, but White House officials say that gesture has helped with Latin American views of Mr. Chávez’s anti-American rhetoric.
In the months ahead, administration officials hope they will benefit from a global perception that Mr. Obama has reached out to North Korea, Cuba and even Syria.
And here's Dylan performing at the White House last week:
this stanza certainly resonates:
Come senators, congressmen
Please heed the call
Don't stand in the doorway
Don't block up the hall
For he that gets hurt
Will be he who has stalled
There's a battle outside
And it is ragin'.
It'll soon shake your windows
And rattle your walls
For the times they are a-changin'.
Sounds like a case against requiring cloture to suspend unlimited debate!