Monday, November 30, 2009

Obama's Letter to Lula about Ahmadinejad

The content of the letter apparently leaked in Brazil.
On the eve of the visit to Brazil of Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the White House made it clear to the government Luiz InĂ¡cio Lula da Silva that values the Brazilian initiative to promote dialogue and mediate between Iran and Western countries on the nuclear issue. The United States' position was expressed by President Barack Obama in three-page letter sent Sunday to the Brazilian president.

In the text, the U.S. admit to dissatisfaction with the government's decision to receive the Iranian, but recognize that Brazil is a sovereign country, with the right freely to orient its foreign policy. Before the decision, Obama asked Brasilia address the following issues with Ahmadinejad: human rights and cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

The letter also dealt with the negotiations on climate change, the crisis in Honduras and the Doha Round of World Trade Organization (WTO). At the reception, Monday, the Foreign Ministry, the President discussed the nuclear issue, Ahmadinejad encouraged to keep the negotiations with the IAEA, and human rights.

After noting that Brazil staff its foreign policy "by the commitment to democracy and respect for diversity," Lula added: "We defend human rights and freedom of choice of our citizens with the same vehemence with which repudiate any act of intolerance or the use of terrorism. " The information is the newspaper O Estado de S. Paulo.
I'm not sure what the point of this letter would have been. I worry that Obama isn't self-aware enough to realize that Ahmadinejad believes his positions on human rights and cooperation with the IAEA are right, and will joyfully discuss his positions on these for as long as Lula would like. Ahmadinejad routinely challenges Obama to debates on these issues, and if the debate is presented to any non-Jewish Middle Eastern audience, or nearly any audience in the developing world, Ahmadinejad will certainly score a crushing victory.

The US foreign policy establishment, including Obama would reach its own goals more effectively if it could better empathize with its adversaries. But I guess it is not meant to be.

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