Debate Info

Debate Score:23
Total Votes:32
More Stats

Argument Ratio

side graph
 YES (7)
 NO (5)

Debate Creator

Bradf0rd(1431) pic

Is it OK to Unconditionally Meet With Anti-American Foreign Leaders?

Paid for by John McCain 2008


Side Score: 16


Side Score: 7
3 points

Just out of curiosity, what would be the "conditions" if you were to conditionally meet with anti-American Foreign Leaders?

Maybe my history is a little fuzzy, but isn't communication with the enemy what saved the world from a nuclear disaster during the Cold War? Why is it so odd to meet with your enemies?

Side: YES
2 points

Diplomatic relations: pretty important. How will you ever find a common ground with someone if you won't meet with them; how will you ever establish peace and make agreements and win them over if there isn't communication.

But I don't understand what you mean by anti-American. That the leader's country has been known to criticise America, or what? I'm not really sure what you're getting at with it. I also don't know what the conditions of a conditional meeting with these anti-American people would be.

However an interesting parallel to this is that Mugabe came to a UN talk about food shortages. Is it OK to meet with leaders who're ruling undemocratically and who've committed human rights violations? When their presence at a summit of that nature is hypocritical? I'd say there's no reason they shouldn't be allowed to come if they're still recognised as leader of their country; if their presence is hypocritical, that'll be noticed and commented on and will highlight the problems that exist with them. So I don't really see a problem with meeting with any foreign leader, unless there's a risk they'll assassinate you or something.

Supporting Evidence: Mugabe at the UN (
Side: YES

To say yes to this question it is assumed that the safety of BOTH leaders is a given and unconditionally agreed to by all. There will always be Anti-American foreign leaders and and vice-versa. We must begin to build a bridge to better understanding and lay a positive foundation for the greater good of mankind. There is nothing at all wrong with having rather informal meetings with other world leaders whose interests are different than our own without using what is learned there as a precursor to anything negative. These should be informational sessions wherein leaders seek understanding and possible solutions for the future or, at the very least, détente if nothing else can be established at the minute. We should always take the posture of détente in order to make meeting a viable opportunity to vent our concerns and differences without penalty.

Side: No Conditions Legitimizes
2 points

Yes, of course. How else do we solve the problem that confronts us? I find it disturbing that any political candidate can take the stance of sticking his head in the sand over a major problem. No president or prime minister during the Cold War refused to meet with the Russian head of government; America's relations with China have improved since "breaking the ice" -- any answer but Yes to the above question is a dangerous, short-sighted policy doomed to fail.

Side: Under any circumstances
1 point

I think we need to meet with Anti-American foreign leaders.

I'm assuming "unconditional" means, without an agenda, and with anyone no matter the circumstances. This means any leaders, even if they hate our guts and want to destroy America.

We should be trying to reach out to these leaders, and find ways to include them in world affairs. Let them know that we all understand the differences between ourselves and they, but we are willing, in the name of humanitarian prosperity, to reach agreements on certain things and work together to achieve goals that do not have national benefit as the political motive.

Everyone can agree that the one most important thing underlying every situation is human life. I mean, even greed is powered by the value of one's life... everything is.

Why can't we cut out the common denominator in every situation and work on this globally rather than leaving people out because of varying cultural or societal conventions?

(By the way, I go this question from a McCain banner ad at the bottom of the page)

Side: YES
1 point

I think peace and secure is very important

Side: yes
2 points

The problem with meeting with anti-American foreign leaders without conditions is that it legitimizes the foreign leader. The foreign leader with have a great photo opportunity and they'll most likely spin it in their favor when it goes to the controlled presses. Without having to mention any concessions, it will looks like the US supports the foreign leader.

Side: No Conditions Legitimizes
fruble(455) Disputed
1 point


When one says that a meeting with and anti-American leader "legitimizes" that leader, a few errors are made. First, this line of thought gives undo weight to American power. Even at the heights of America's hegemony during the Cold War and subsequent unipolar moment, America has never been able to unilaterally and non-militarily legitimize a leader. Further, Iran and the US's attempted installation of Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi, Vietnam and the US's tapping Ngo Dinh Diem, and recently Iraq and the US's miscalculated trust in Abu Musab al-Zarqawi stand as failed military examples. It is no great secret that other countries already recognize Mahmoud Amadinejad as a major leader of Iran. (Though, all too often it is forgotten that Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei wields the actual influence.)

True, a leader of a country is established externally, but just as much if not more, leaders are established internally. Amadinejad was after all elected democratically (even though now he is widely unpopular - though with 82% disapproval ratings, so is President Bush). These leaders are already legitimate.


In addition, the claim that anti-American leaders will use these opportunities as photo-ops and spin them in their favor, is too vague and hardly reason not to meet. When leaders meet, the pictures are all the same: both men shake hands or maybe if there are too many volatile issues they at least stand side by side. What could possibly happen, the two leaders become professional wrestlers and go at each other with foldable chairs?

It is not unheard of for a President to go to a country that does not view him favorably. For example, people from countries like France and even South Korea vocally protest against President Bush when he sets foot on their soil. Yet the leaders of these countries meet anyway. And little harm is done.

At the end of the day, all we are talking about is a meeting. In meetings, the interested parties discuss what they want, what they expect from the other, and then either in the meeting or after, decisions are made. Meetings are where rewards and concessions are made. All of these criticisms about an anti-American country needing to make concessions before meeting seem misplaced. What then is the point of a meeting if the significant business has already been done?

We are currently suffering from the error of not exhausting all diplomatic means before going to war. Is a simple meeting too much to ask? At the very least, the President will have an accurate, first-hand account of where a country stands. And if a President truly is doing what is right for America and the world, then he or she should feel confident in reasoning away any anti-American sentiments.

Side: legitimization and meeting
1 point

I think the central point of this debate is the word unconditionally, and I (although I argued against it before in this debate...I can change my opinion right?) don't think that we should meet with them without them meeting some conditions of satisfaction and showing positive intent before us meeting with them.

The primary argument for this is that by meeting with them unconditionally we are legitimizing what they are doing, and elevating them to the level of America. Now, that's not to say we shouldn't talk to them at all. Quite to the contrary,

a recent Washington Post Op-Ed states,

"There are always contacts through back channels or intermediaries. Iran, for example, has engaged in five years of talks with our closest European allies and the International Atomic Energy Agency, to say nothing of the hundreds of official U.S. statements outlining exactly what we would give them in return for suspending uranium enrichment.

Obama pretends that while he is for such "engagement," the cowboy Republicans oppose it. Another absurdity. No one is debating the need for contacts. The debate is over the stupidity of elevating rogue states and their tyrants, easing their isolation, and increasing their leverage by granting them unconditional meetings with the president of the world's superpower.

Obama cited Franklin Roosevelt and Harry Truman as presidents who met with enemies. Does he know no history? Neither Roosevelt nor Truman ever met with any of the leaders of the Axis powers. Obama must be referring to the pictures he's seen of Roosevelt and Stalin at Yalta, and Truman and Stalin at Potsdam. Does he not know that at that time Stalin was a wartime ally?"

We do need to speak with leaders of countries that hate us. But, we need to set some conditions prior to meeting with them so we can get on a path to understanding and agreement with them. Going in to a meeting without them meeting some preconditions is a recipe for disaster.

Side: Meet once conditions have been met
Bradf0rd(1431) Disputed
0 points

What exactly do you mean by "conditions"?

Sure the word "unconditionally" isn't defined well, but I think the question is a pretty understandable. By that I mean, we're not going to have our leaders meeting with enemies in war zones... if you wouldn't want to meet with them under certain conditions, I'm sure they won't either. Be reasonable.

I think the "unconditionally" has to do more with the leaders beliefs about the U.S. and how they may hate the U.S. and so on.

Just because a leader hates the U.S. doesn't mean they will kill our leader... if that were to happen their entire nation would be whipped clean, and I'm sure they are aware of this.

Also, quoting the washington post does little good. I mean, I got some from the quote, but news sources are inherently biased.

"Obama cited Franklin Roosevelt and Harry Truman as presidents who met with enemies. Does he know no history? Neither Roosevelt nor Truman ever met with any of the leaders of the Axis powers. Obama must be referring to the pictures he's seen of Roosevelt and Stalin at Yalta, and Truman and Stalin at Potsdam. Does he not know that at that time Stalin was a wartime ally?"

That whole statement is incorrect. We did talk to the axis, often, one simple example is the swapping treaties. Also, Stalin, though he was our "war time" ally, wasn't someone we supported, in fact we hated Stalin's guts, but how else would we have won the war against the NAZI's and Japan without Russia's help? Remember, it wasn't the the original Allies who won the war, a majority of it was Russia (which was neutral until germany turned on their pact and decided to invade). Russia also invaded Manchuria, because Japan invaded Manchuria earlier in the war on their way to conquer China... Who was in Manchuria before Japan invaded? Russia, mostly. Russia had their own reasons for beating up on Germany and Japan, it wasn't because we were best friends. So stating that we didn't meet with the enemy is false, if we wouldn't have met with Stalin, we would have failed in defeating both Germany and Japan in the time frame that we did.

To further that point, Stalin helped Germany violate the Treaty of Versailles by allowing Germany to train soldiers in the Soviet Union. Why would we not consider them an enemy??? Because they helped us by fixing their own problem?

Anyhow, like I said, unconditionally shouldn't be taken out of context and I believe that if it's safe to do so, we should meet with anyone we can to promote peace and familiarity with the U.S.

Side: YES
1 point

i guess those who say yes know nothing about being a leader. you don't just meet with anyone under no conditions. they could try and humiliate you and make you and your nation look like morons. haha, nice work dipshit.

even in interviews (at least fox news it's customary) to have pre interviews to make sure the person being interviewed is ready for questions and situations.

Side: NO
-1 points

Jesse Jackson met with Muammar al-Gaddafi. Do you have any respect for Jesse? I don't. And I don't want to follow by his example.

Side: NO