The current dust-up between Clinton and Obama on the most effective method for engaging with flakazoid foreign leaders is, frankly, silly. Both agree that stonewalling is not a viable policy and the real difference appears to be semantic - Obama is mumbling something about laying groundwork then loudly talking about talking, while Clinton is strongly insisting on the groundwork first and won't commmit to a specific mode of engagement beyond that.
This is small beans, people. The key point for both senators is that ostracizing rogue or even obstreperous states is really fucking stupid foreign policy.
Then Matt Yglesias shoots off his mouth how Clinton is just "Bush-lite" for refusing to agree to talks with particular heads of states without conditions or considerations. Hel-fucking-lo? I sure as shit do NOT want the US in any way shape and/or form legitimizing the nutcase running Iran at the current moment. That doesn't mean refusing to engage with *Iran*. That means refusing to walk into a PR trap set up by some anti-Semitic, mysogynistic, dictatorial fucktard who happend to have "won" an utterly bogus election.
You know, like George W. Bush.
Put some different players in this argument and you'll see why Big Media Matt has parked his brain at the door.
What should a country do who thinks there is no way not to engage the US, but who also thinks George W. Bush is a war criminal? You keep diplomatic channels open, you arrange for meetings and talks, and you are very careful not to become PR fodder for the BushCo White House.
In short, Clinton has expressed an extremely intelligent and rational general approach to engagements with states who have loathesome leaders, but where the US has a clear interest in strengthening more advantageous relationships. She has done no more than say that the US will act like every other rational state actor in the world.
To take the most extreme interpretation of Obama's position, declare it brilliant, and then categorically declare Clitnon's stance to be just like Bush and Cheney does violence to serious thinking about foreign policy. It trivializes the rogue behavior of the Bush administration. Matt and the other Clinton-haters of the TAPPED and TPM empires may think this is oh-so-terribly clever (Look! Look! Snicker, giggle, we called Hillary a right-winger! Har-har, we tried to trash her by a false comparison and the neo-Naderite netroots is eating it up! Guffaw, we sure showed Mommy, er, Hillary, er, no, no, BILLARY - heh-heh, yeah, that's it, Billary- who's the got the dick in this debate!) are not paying attention to the ways in which they normalize what is a breathtakingly violent and destructive stance towards the rest of the world.
No. There needs to be a bright and clear line between the criminal activity of the Cheney White House and genuine (if fundamentally trivial) disagreements about legitimate, common-sense diplomatic methods. Not to maintain that distinction excuses their imperial over-reach and their contempt for humanity as such.