Why Can’t We Be Friends?

This week’s ARTICLE focuses on foreign policy.  More specifically, what should our country’s role be with other nations that we disagree with or disklike?  Should we talk and work with them? Moreover, should we joke and laugh with them? Should we refuse to talk with them (much like we do with Iran)?

Wasn’t it Sun-tzu, the Chinese Military General, who said “Keep your friends close, and your enemies closer.  What do you think?

20 responses to “Why Can’t We Be Friends?”

  1. Anna Wasmund says:

    This is a hard question because i believe as a head nation we have some obligation to show curtesy to all nations. However, Obama looked buddy buddy with Chavez. I think to “joke and laugh with them” is a little far. On a lower scale, i am nice to my enemies but i definitely wont be laughing and joking with them. I dont give them the same connectiveness that i give loyal, kind friends.

    Ultimately, Obama felt to be close to Chavez was more important than to show some distance to the guy who had called our previous president the devil as well as many other things.

  2. Andrea Nelson says:

    Based on this article, and the discussion we had in class today about embargos with Cuba I believe that we shouldn’t drop those and become “friends” with those countries again. First of all they were put into effect for a reason, and have been working for us thus far. The US doesn’t believe in communism so why would we try and get back together with Cuba which happens to be a communist country? Yes we do trade with China another communist country; but China is self sufficient and is a good business partner for the US. I think that if we remove the embargo with Cuba it will weaken our relationship with some of our other allies who believe the same way we do. I think that it would be sending mixed messages to everyone. And as far as President Obama becoming “closer” to Chavez, who did highly dislike our past president, and compared him to many terrible things including, the devil; makes President Obama look like a jack ass for siding with the enemy in this situation over his own damn country!!

  3. Betsy Beck says:

    I agree with Anna on this topic. I think that because the United States is a nation that many other countries look up to, it is only right that we keep our communication lines open with all of them. I feel that ignoring other countries and just not talking to them, wouldn’t get us anywhere. It may instead do some harm if these countries decide to make things violent. It doesn’t mean that we have to agree with them, that is a competely different issue, but I still feel that it is important to talk with them. I don’t think that foreign policy is something to be made fun of or joked about by any means. When things turn from a professional matter to a comical one, people tend to get offended. It would be smart for the United States to keep in contact with these other countries because if would be easier to know their intentions and solve issues before they turn into something more.

  4. Loy Vang says:

    I agree with Anna and Betsy about how many other nations look up to us and I think that should be something to be proud of. Plus, by not confronting other countries makes us look weak. Instead of ignoring them, compromising and talking to them puts us in a position where we can come to a consenses. Also, foriegn policy is not to be made fun of or joked on.

    It is true to keep the enemy close, but by keeping them closer, their intentions and their issues become clearer.

  5. rachel woodford says:

    i think that we need to keep a stable relationship with all countries due to our seniority that we have over other countries. i think in order to make the economy and world still going we need to make it happen by working out problems and what now by talking and not just ignoring the smaller but powerful countries who help america in many ways. its a give and take situation many of the times and you have to be able to be communicate and get along for the better of every country and allies/enemies involved. as far as obama joking and laughing kind of made it look like a mockery out of our last president and as far as i am concerned that is not how a president of our country should be acting. not talking solves nothing when there is a problem or discrepency on an issue so i think being civil with enemies is the best way to go when talking on foreign policy.

  6. Jacob Johnson says:

    I believe that the President of the United States needs to run affairs with other countries as a business meeting between two companies would be run. I think it is important for other counties to see that we wish to conduct affairs in a professional manner. Businesses have a code of ethics which they follow as do I think countries meeting with one another should. Businesses arrange to share goods with one another at a lower cost, as do countries. There are many similarities to the relationship shared by businesses and the countries of this world and I think the relationship between countries need only be as close as the relationships of companies in the business world.

  7. Jay Stokes says:

    I think we should absolutely spend more time and effort discussing with other countries that we disagree with. Why? because we have MORE to learn from differences than similarities. Do you need to be civil towards them to facilitate a productive conversation? Yes
    Should we joke and laugh with them? YES! because that in itself might cause a new/better attitude to arise. Should we laugh and joke and thats it? NOOOO it should be a supplement to serious discussion, not a replacement.
    Are we just going to ignore others that are different than us?? come one, what are you? 12 years old?

  8. Jay Stokes says:

    ** “on” not “one” **

  9. Sara Lind says:

    It is imperative to act diplomatically with all countries even if there is a history of bad blood. I completely agree with the quote of keeping enemies even closer because it is a way to have a check on that particular country. It builds a relationship so when problems are apparent, discussion can occur rather than just setting embargos or starting a confilct. Furthermore, it can help build an understanding of other nations’ concerns, culture, etc.
    Also, our nation is trying to rebuild a better reputation around the world so we, most definitely, should talk with these countries.
    I think when we are able to joke and laugh with different leaders, it shows a mutual fondness or, at least, respect between countries. I find it hard to believe that President Obama would joke at inappropriate times (i.e. during serious discussions when any social cue would tell you not to). Foreign policy is not a joking matter, but the charisma that Obama has may lead countries to have a better impression of the U.S.

  10. Katie Francour says:

    I am a big believer that we should try to talk to our enemies, not because we have to “keep our enemies closer”, but because it is the right thing to do. Sometimes I think things such as wars could be avoided if there was more communication between countries. I think it is ridiculous to ignore a country or refuse to talk to them. That seems like a childish thing to do and I would hope that our country is not being run by childish people. I know that things are not always that simple and sometimes talking will not get us anywhere with certain countries, but it’s worth an effort. Some things can be resolved without weapons and with a little bit of effort.

  11. Kimone Holtzman says:

    Like the discussion in class…I think that there are pros and cons to either option.
    — A pro would be to have countries be on “our side” if anything ever happened we could call Cuba our allies and they could help get us through what ever the issue may be.
    —A con would be, loosing/weaking everything that the US has come to strengthen with other nations. China may hate Cuba and there for give the US the “cold shoulder” if they heard that we -the US are starting a trading bond with Cuba. I kinda like how we have things now…we have our close friends at a goodish distance……and while our enemies are closer -geographically-i feel that we should not get over involved and create all these bonds between people that may not get along to begin with. It would be putting the US in the middle in the end…and that will only lead to a bigger catastrophe and in the end the US will end up Alli-less.

  12. Jessica Mesmer says:

    I really think that our country should try to work with countries that we don’t like even though we don’t like them. We are all taught when we are young that we need to find a way to get along with people, even if we don’t necessarily like them or agree with what they have to say. Granted I know it’s a more serious situation than my example, it’s still important. We should probably try to work out our differences to settle things. If we try at least we can say we tried and that’s what’s important.

    I don’t know if Obama should be in conversation with the guy who made horrible references towards our previous president. While yes that may be the past, there is still a respect that we need to uphold.

  13. Ashley says:

    I also believe that this is a hard question. I have people who i do not get along with, but when it comes down to it i can sit and have a civil productive conversation with them. However, i doubt i could sit there and have a fun, laughing conversation with them. I also believe that we are seen as like the super nation and that in having that title of being like peacekeepers. I agree with the others about Obama and Chavez. He said horrible things about our previous president. You can think things about people all you want but he was our president and he should be respected.

  14. Elisabeth Callahan says:

    There are pros and cons to both. However I feel if Obama gradually lessens the embargo with Cuba while Cuba works at meeting some of our requirements (like releasing political prisoners) i think the transition can be done peacefully while minimizing the cons.
    Counties often go to war and fight with other because of poor communication, therefore i agree with the statement it is best to keep your enemies close with a watchful and knowledgeable eye.

  15. Elisabeth Callahan says:


  16. Lindsay Pethan says:

    From the article and the discussion in class that we had about what we as the United States, should do with “enemy” countries, I am still undecided. I guess in my opinion, it hurts us more to not do any sort of business with these countries. I understand that some people may think that we are just supporting their bad\illegal “habits”, but I think that you may never know when you need something from them. It is better to have a business relationship with them to help us in the future if need be. I am not saying that we need to become great friends with these countries, but there is a difference between friends and business partners.

  17. Brianne Coffey says:

    For the countries that America dislikes, it may be difficult to build a trusting relationship with them. Just as individual persons should overcome any animosity towards other individuals, so should countries who would like to pursue their own pathes. As long as human rights aren’t being violated. Easier said than done. At minimum, I think that America should attempt to hatch peaceful relationships with disliked countries, if at all possible.

    As far as the American-Cuban relationship goes, I think that lifting restrictions to allow people to visit relatives in Cuba would ease tension between the countries. Clearly the Obama administration “hopes” to promote personal freedom in Communist Cuba. Ultimately, I think that President Obama will end the trade embargo. How will that affect the American economy?

    Keeping your enemies closer is not always the smartest option with the possibility of a greater betrayal.

  18. Lindsay Ellifson says:

    I think we should be able to talk and work with other nations we disagree with or dislike, because disagreements can only be worked through by negotiating and expressing each perspective. That’s how issues and problems are resolved when we’re able to understand where others are coming from. Mutual agreements can sometimes be arrived at through talking and negotiating. In my opionion, we shouldn’t joke with them because it can be insulting, and it trivializes their own societal standards. It could create misunderstandings because other worlds leaders may think we’re making fun of what their societal values are, and that’s never good. Ignoring or turning off/shutting down relations is also insulting. I believe the only way to resolve anything is through making an effort in a diplomatic way by discussing and listening.

  19. David Hanizeski says:

    I think that our foreign policy is for a lack of a better term “messed up” at times. I think that the U.S. involves itself with other countries domestic relations because they have their best interest to try to keep the country as safe as possible. I feel that we are constantly on a scare that some country will bomb another and anoter war will start. I think that it is good to be on our guard with what other countries are doing so that we are safe as a people, but I think that power corrupts even the best leaders. I think if we all have a agenda to better one another the world would get along on a much greater national leve.

  20. Courtney Harries says:

    I think we should come to an agreement ith other countries, that way neither country is left in the dark about anything! as far as different kinds of threats on america, such as terroism, and bombing another country. If countries would compromise everything will be better in some aspects espcially since it’s our best interest to keep each country as safe as possible and always knowing what’s going to happen or what could happen.

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