Has he been too rigid?
Q: In the past week, China and Israel have issued sharp rebukes to President Obama and his approach to issues relating to trade and West Bank settlements. As a world leader facing political challenges at home, is this the right moment for Obama to show toughness and resolve and risk escalating the confrontations or to demonstrate patience and diplomacy in trying to defuse them?
From a leadership perspective, I would not define this as an either/or question. President Obama doesn't have the authority to tell other sovereign countries what they should -- or should not -- believe.
On the other hand, he does have the responsibility to stand up for the best interests of the United States. He can firmly proceed in a manner that is focused on our national interest while recognizing that other countries have their own agendas. He can be both a tough and fair negotiator at the same time.
I would love to hear our readers comments on when they feel he has been to rigid and when they feel he has been too flexible. My guess is these comments will say as much about the reader's personal values as they say about the president's approach to negotiation.
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