Let’s Hear It for Obama

Despite his statist economic policies, increasing of federal police powers, and reluctance to take any steps to rein in the American military empire, there are some areas where Obama is doing the right thing.

His willingness to open a dialogue with so-called “rogue states” such as Iran and Cuba, as well as his willingness to ease travel restrictions to Cuba, are a breath of fresh air — particularly after the past eight years.  At the recently concluded Summit of the Americas, the president even had a brief, informal exchange of pleasantries with Venezuelan president — and Latin American dictator numero uno since Fidel Castro ceded power to his brother Raul — Hugo Chavez.

The response from the purported opposition party in Washington was revealing only in that it demonstrated the narrow-minded, myopic view the Republican establishment has of the world around them.  Senator John Ensign (R – Nevada) told CNN Sunday, “I think it was irresponsible for the president to be seen kind of laughing and joking with Hugo Chavez.”  “When you’re talking about the prestige of the United States and the presidency of the United States,” he continued, “you have to be careful who you’re seeing joking around with.”

Obama dismissed the criticism, saying “The whole notion was that somehow if we showed courtesy or opened up dialogue with governments that had previously been hostile to us, that that somehow would be a sign of weakness.”  There are still infinite other reasons to criticize the president, but a positive step — even a small one — is still a positive step.  Engagement with other members of the international community based on mutual respect and with a good faith effort to resolve outstanding issues is a good thing.

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