Kevin McCullough
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President Obama made news with two phone calls this week.

On one of the calls he pledged fervent cooperation--even though he foresees difficult negotiations ahead.

On the other, Obama warned the person on the other end the line that he could expect nothing but the back of his hand.

On the first call, he admitted that "while there will surely be important obstacles to moving forward... [he] believe[d] the two parties could reach a comprehensive solution." (Comprehensive, mind you. Not partial, not segmented, but over-arching, all encompassing, and addressing the most important items to both sides. Hence, comprehensive.)

On the second call, Obama phoned to specifically announce that he would NOT be negotiating. (In essence, indicating that no matter what the other party offered, he was going to purposefully NOT listen, NOT engage, and NOT capitulate on even small items.)

On the first call, President Obama admitted that he directed executive cabinet level secretaries to "continue pursuing the diplomatic effort." In doing so, he indicated that he felt constructive discussions had been held in recent days with the partners involved in the matters they were reviewing.

On the second he explicitly said that the "full faith and credit of the United States should not and will not be subject to negotiation."

On the first call he expressed the realization that the person he was negotiating with represented a party that has, under most people's view, been untrustworthy.

On the second he blatantly chose to work against someone he had worked with in the past to achieve actual compromise.

On the first call he bragged about the engagement of allies and mediators, even the inclusion of others with a stake in the outcome of the issues being discussed. He touted how each of those additional parties were fruitfully contributing and participating.

On the second call his primary ally also served as an enforcer to instruct others to not engage, so that they could keep their "powder dry" in order to have the maximum leverage to punish the other side.

On the first call, the President himself bragged about the fact that his call had taken place. He took credit for the good that might come from it, and felt no remorse for reversing an American policy held since 1979 to make it happen.

On the second call, the President allowed the media to run the story, and he hoped for headlines that would cut the kneecaps off of the person on the other end of the line.

On the first call he concluded by hoping verbally for great success in achieving something for the good of the people of the world.

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