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A diplomatic answer

Barack Obama came to office in 2009 promising a new era of diplomacy and engagement after the confrontational “axis of evil” approach of the George W. Bush administration. During his campaign, Obama said he would be willing to meet with the leaders of Iran, Venezuela, North Korea, Cuba and Syria “without preconditions.”…

Diplomacy and engagement have made an unexpected comeback, and, even more amazingly, initial reports are positive. In Syria, where just a few weeks ago a military strike to punish President Bashar al-Assad for allegedly using chemical weapons seemed imminent, a team of inspectors is engaged in an ambitious project to do away with the nation’s lethal chemical weapons stockpiles, with Assad’s apparent cooperation. The United States and Iran — whose leaders had not communicated directly in 34 years until three weeks ago — are engaged in “substantive and forward-looking” talks in Geneva this week about the future of Tehran’s nuclear programme…

Diplomacy is tricky and inevitably runs a chance of failure. There are always those who denounce negotiations as appeasement and negotiators as naive. But the alternatives are risky as well. The administration is right to seize new diplomatic openings and to pursue negotiated solutions in a careful, deliberate manner.

From a leader in the ‘Los Angeles Times’

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