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Does Being Pals With Sketchy Leaders Help the US?

In case you guys missed the big controversy over the weekend, on Saturday Barack Obama smiled at, shook hands with and accepted a gift from the ever incendiary president of Venezuela, Hugo Chavez. They're basically in love.

Critics, like Dick Cheney, say the handshake could make enemies "think they're dealing with a weak president." But Obama says reaching out to enemies strengthens our hand. Obama thinks a little listening, opposed to heavy-handed diplomacy, will make foreign leaders on the margins cooperate with the US. Obama also pointed out that America has nothing to fear from Chavez since his "defense budget is probably 1/600th of the US."

In addition to shaking hands with a man who has called the US the most "murderous empire that has existed in the history of the world," Obama has shown signs of thawing relations with Cuba and Iran. Are you on board?


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