Posts Tagged Glenn Beck

What’s In A Handshake?

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I’ve been sitting here for a few days now, listening to the right-wing crazies going nuts over President Obama’s handshake with Venezuela’s President Hugo Chavez, describing it as anything from  ‘inappropriate’  to  ‘showing weakness.’

Leaving alone the fact that none of them has a leg to stand on after decades of failed policies in Latin America, and overt and covert interference in those countries’ affairs, mostly committed by Republican administrations, culminating of course in the Iran-Contra Affair under Ronald Reagan, isn’t it a breath of fresh air that President Obama wants to restart interaction with other countries and change those very same failed policies from Venezuela to Cuba?  Something, I might add, he has mentioned repeatedly during his run for the presidency, and obviously the American people agree with him, as we elected him president.

The villain-du-jour for the right-wingers, Hugo Chavez, is certainly a controversial figure, but he is the democratically elected leader of Venezuela, not as we often hear, a  ‘dictator.’  The people of Venezuela elected him with a bigger percentage of the vote than George Bush ever received in either one of his elections, if he indeed was ever elected, despite active interference on behalf of Chavez’ opponent by the Bush administration at the time.  Chavez right now has the approval of 54% of the Venezuelan people, something George Bush hasn’t seen in a very long time.  Whether we like it or not, other countries decide which leaders they elect… sometimes we like them, sometimes we don’t…  But either way, I find it quite refreshing that we have a president who makes an effort to come to a consensus, and work towards a common goal, even with people who we disagree with…  And a little handshake and smile may go a long way to realizing that goal.

Don’t you also find it impressive that we for once have a Democratic president who is not intimidated by Republican criticism on national security matters, but chooses to mock his critics by pointing out how ridiculous they are?  What’s the word again, I’m looking for… ah…  ‘refreshing.’

Here’s President Obama in his own words, mocking his critics:

1.  ‘Venezuela is a country whose defense budget is probably 1/600th of the United States’.  They own Citgo.  It’s unlikely that as a consequence of me shaking hands or having a polite conversation with Mr. Chavez that we are endangering the strategic interests of the United States.  I don’t think anybody can find any evidence that that would do so.  Even within this imaginative crowd,  I think you would be hard-pressed to paint a scenario in which U.S. interests would be damaged as a consequence of us having a more constructive relationship with Venezuela.’ — President Barack Obama

2.  At a press conference in Trinidad:

Dan Lothian (CNN):  ‘During the campaign you were criticized by some within your own party for perhaps not being able to be tough on foreign policy matters.  Now you’ve had this friendly interaction with Mr. Chavez.  Are you concerned at all about how this might be perceived back in the U.S. as perhaps being soft?  Already one senator is calling this friendly interaction irresponsible.  And as a quick follow-up, if I may, when you got the book from Mr. Chavez, what did you really think?’

President Obama:  ‘I think it was a nice gesture to give me a book; I’m a reader.  And you’re right, we had this debate throughout the campaign, and the whole notion was, is 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.  The American people didn’t buy it.  And there’s a good reason the American people didn’t buy it–because it doesn’t make sense.’



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