McCain: recognize Vietnam, embargo Cuba, because…? by mattsteinglass
May 22, 2008, 1:40 pm
Filed under: President, Vietnam | Tags: , , ,

The Washington Post “Fact Checker” observes McCain is wrong in his critiques of Obama’s stance on negotiating with regimes the US doesn’t like (as opposed to icily cutting them dead and pretending to recognize an old friend across the room who we simply must say hi to just as they stretch out their hand and begin an awkward salutation). The Post notes that FDR maintained diplomatic relations with Nazi Germany and met with Stalin, VP Nixon met with Khrushchev as did President Kennedy, Prez Nixon met with Brezhnev and Mao, Reagan met with Gorbachev well before perestroika got started, and generally “U.S. presidents have held meetings with some of the greatest mass murderers in history.”

Matthew Yglesias observes that McCain wants to continue our failed policies of isolating Cuba and isolate North Korea even more than Bush has, and says “Like McCain’s apparent belief that it would be better if we’d spent another decade or two fighting in Vietnam, it really calls into question whether he has any understanding of what he’s talking about.” But this misses the glaringer point: the closest recent analogy we have to the Cuba embargo was the Vietnam embargo, and McCain was one of the key players arguing for lifting that in 1994. And it had nothing whatsoever to do with political liberalization in Vietnam, as far as I can tell. So why exactly did McCain support opening relations with Vietnam, but oppose even talking to Cuba or Iran? What is the logic here?

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