Many world leaders crave the legitimacy a direct Presidential visit bestows upon them. Consider the words of this Russian mathematician who is a frequent commenter at neoneocon's blog:
Sergey Says: May 21st, 2008 at 2:56 am
It is very hard to assess popularity of any terroristic totalitarian regime. It can look monolitic even when popular resentment fills every pore of society. But one thing is certain: its leadership strive for international recognition and legitimization to keep its grasp of society. So to undermine it from within it is crucial to deny it such recognition, so all direct talks and official contacts with Western politicians would be used as propaganda tools to prolong its life. They should be officially prohibited by West, if we are serious in attempts to isolate and denormalize it.
Point #2: There's a difference between A) strategic determination to defeat an enemy, and B) ... um ... appeasement (the most accurate description).
When Pres. Reagan met with Gorbachev, the meeting was part of a strategic effort to defeat and destroy Gorbachev's government.
Conversely, a Barack meeting with Ahmadinejad would be Fred Rogers diplomacy: attempting to nicey-nice Ahmadinejad into being a good neighbor. The left seemingly imagines Barack will chat up Ahmadinejad just as a new age guru chats up Oprah: Get centered, Ahmad ... feel the loving energy ... we .. are the change .. we've been waiting for.
In the world as it actually exists, Ahmadinejad would effectively be the schoolyard bully: I'm going to beat you up. Barack would effectively be saying: What can I give you to not hurt me? Is my lunch money enough?
Barack has already announced he will cut back on investment in the "unproven" SDI which Reagan began(do we like irony?). Take a sharp listen to this 52 seconds of Barack:
In schoolyard terms, Barack has announced he is sending his protective big sister home. Barack fully expects the schoolyard bully to appreciate his gesture, and to respond like a person who has Western values and is sitting on Oprah's couch.
Update: Ace of Spades comments under this heading:
Obama's Nuanced Position on Ahmadinejad Nuances to the Point of IncoherenceAw ... what the heck:
No preconditions, but there will be "preparations."
He's reversed himself on meeting with Ahmadinejad (maybe), but will meet with "leadership" which may or may not include him.
He's unwilling to say what he's willing to concede to Iran.
He's also unwilling to explain how his plan of diplomacy without threat of force will do any better than Bush's six year strategy of diplomacy with threat of force.
And, whatever his current position may (or may not) eventually turn out to be, you shouldn't question him too closely on any of this, because it all is, yes, once again a "distraction" from the things we should be talking about,