Monday, April 12, 2010

US President in "meets dodgy leader" shock

Over at Contentions, Jennifer Rubin and Peter Wehner are angry that President Obama would have a meeting with the President of a dubious human rights case like Kazakhstan and say nice things about that leader.

Above, George Bush with Dick Cheney's favourite central Asian autocrat, President Nazarbayev, at the White House in 2006.

On the other hand, the Contentions items do direct attention to a bizarre statement at Sunday's White House conference call media briefing by Mike McFaul, National Security Council Senior Director for Russia and the Caucasus --

Q Hi, this is for Mike McFaul. When you were discussing the discussion between President Nazarbayev and President Obama about human rights and democracy, you seemed to be suggesting there was some equivalence between their issues of democracy and the United States’ issues, when you said that President Obama assured him that we, too, are working on our democracy. Is there equivalence between the problems that President Nazarbayev is confronting and the state of democracy in the United States?

MR. McFAUL: Absolutely not, Jonathan. To be clear, what the President was saying is that all democracies need to work to improve their democracies. And he’s taken, I think, rather historic steps to improve our own democracy since coming to office here in the United States. There was no equivalence meant whatsoever.


Bush White House photo by Eric Draper

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