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Letter: A negotiating president better than one who bullies

The state of the whole world will be greatly affected by the outcome of the next U.S. presidential election. So much rides on who becomes president. Will the next administration make more enemies of our country as Bush's did, or will it attempt t...

The state of the whole world will be greatly affected by the outcome of the next U.S. presidential election. So much rides on who becomes president. Will the next administration make more enemies of our country as Bush's did, or will it attempt to make the world a safer place for everyone? Barack Obama wants to hold discussions with those countries considered enemies of the U.S. Clinton, McCain and Bush all strongly oppose this idea, saying there needs to be certain concessions made by the other parties before the U.S. will agree to sit down at the table with them.

Bush recently said that other countries would get the wrong idea, reformers' efforts within those countries will be compromised, etc. He obviously thinks the U.S. will appear "weak" unless it keeps its distance from certain world leaders until they align their ways and beliefs with U.S. policies and desires. I wonder how the U.S. would respond if preconditions were demanded of them by another country they wished to have talks with. Our leaders would be insulted and indignant, and the table talks would never occur.

Why wouldn't the majority of people rejoice and breathe a sigh of relief to see the U.S. talking and negotiating with any and all world leaders, and especially those considered a threat to national security? The U.S. is seen by so many as the bully of the world -- it's our way or the highway. Wouldn't it be great to have a president who is willing to open the doors to talks, negotiations, and compromise? Wouldn't this gesture be seen as a gracious signal to the world, instead of a sign of weakness? An olive branch is always more effective than threats or demands.

Jesus and other individuals who have preached and/or lived the vision of harmony among all people approached and spoke to many who were considered "enemies" of their particular culture. The result? "Enemies" are often surprised, pleased and changed. Showing respect despite differences is a powerful tool in the effort to make friends out of enemies, or at least reduce levels of threat and violence. This is something Obama seems to be offering to the world.

These kinds of tactics can move mountains. As reason and faith teach us, we need to act from a place of love, not fear, and the world can change for the better.

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Rev. Ginger Beck

Glenwood, Minn.

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