President Obama meets Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi at the G8 summit in L’Aquila, Italy on July 9, 2009. Gaddafi attended as chairman of the African Union. (AP Photo)
(CNSNews.com) – The unfolding climax of the Libyan revolution and the ongoing crisis in Syria again raise questions about the value of seeking to engage leaders long hostile to the United States and the West.
From Damascus to Pyongyang, from Tehran to Yangon, regimes have spurned overtures by the Obama administration, which came to office expressing a willingness to “engage” as an antidote to the Bush administration’s more confrontational approach.
“The notion that somehow not talking to countries is punishment to them – which has been the guiding diplomatic principle of this [Bush] administration – is ridiculous,” then Sen. Obama said during a 2007 presidential primary debate, when asked how he would relate to countries like Syria, Iran and North Korea.