Actions speak louder: Countries snubbed by Obama Administration

by   Posted on April 19th, 2010 in Opinion

By Stephanie Tran, Staff Writer

It’s been clear for years now that the United States is on the outs with Iran, North Korea and Syria because of disagreements over each of the countries’ respective nuclear programs. However, last week the problems between the U.S. and each of these countries hit a whole new low.

From Monday, April 12 through Tuesday, April 13, Washington D.C. played host to 47 different countries attending the nuclear summit. The goals, according to BBC News, were to “safeguard nuclear stocks and keep material out of terrorists’ hands.” In short, to reduce the numbers of nuclear weapons or amounts of enriched uranium that terrorists could use to make nuclear weapons.

While countries are still able to research nuclear power and the agreements made by several countries such as Ukraine, Russia and Mexico are hardly binding, it’s certainly an admirable movement and could be seen as a win for the “War on Terror.”

However, it’s not enough. President Obama applauded the summit’s attendees for “[coming] together in a spirit of partnership to embrace our shared responsibility and confront a shared challenge,” yet there’s no doubt that the summit ruffled more than a few feathers.

A brief Google search yields several optimistic and victorious articles about the summit. Some more digging on CNN.com and Al Jazeera English reveals important information: Iran, Syria and North Korea were among several countries that were not invited to the nuclear summit. Already, Iran has expressed its anger over the move and held its own nuclear summit just this past weekend from April 17 – 18, which would include “foreign ministers from 15 countries,” according to BBC News.

It doesn’t take enormous skill to read between the lines and see that Iran, at least, is mightily offended at the lack of invitation. Iran-U.S. relations are already tense enough without this insult. Even China, the notoriously inflexible country that only recently caused Google to redirect users to a Hong Kong-hosted site, urged the United States for more negotiations with Iran.

By not inviting Iran, North Korea or Syria, President Obama passed right by his opportunity to give gestures of goodwill to these three countries. Is the United States so secure in its role as the ‘Great Negotiator’ at this summit that it’s fine with ignoring three countries that are now offended at best and downright antagonistic at worst?

While discussing Iran’s disregard for international regulations of the development of nuclear programs, President Obama declared, “Words have to mean something.”

Yes, Mr. President, they do, but actions also speak louder than words. And right now, the United States is clearly communicating an unwillingness to head to the negotiation table with just three more countries.



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