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The Importance of Principles

Is there any room left any more for values-based diplomacy, or has everything slipped back into realism of great power politics?  As Barack Obama makes his rounds at the G20 meeting in London this week, it appears that “principles” and “shared values”  will likely fill the discussion with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev – however we aren’t sure whether that answers the question.  Goodwill and vague pledges of cooperation will be bountiful.  For now it will be a refreshing change of pace to have the two leaders at least talk about a new potential dynamic to manage relations … disappointment can come later.

From the Washington Post:

The direct dialogue with Medvedev, scheduled for midday in London, is a key piece of Obama’s promise for a new brand of diplomacy following a period of heightened tensions between the United States and Europe under his predecessor.

The two leaders are expected to announce talks on a new agreement to reduce quantities of nuclear weapons. But U.S. officials described a separate statement from the two as far more wide-ranging, indicating a thawing of relations between the countries on a host of issues.

“We proposed a very extensive action plan and they have adopted theseareas of work and commitment,” Secretary of State Hillary RodhamClinton told reporters from The Hague, where she is holding meetingswith her counterparts. “There is no guarantee on the outcome, buteverything is on the table that we think is important to ourrelationship. They agree.”