And so if we are practicing what we preach and if we occasionally confess to having strayed from our values and our ideals, that strengthens our hand; that allows us to speak with greater moral force and clarity around these issues.
And again, I think people around the world appreciate that we’re not suggesting we are holding ourselves to one set of standards and we’re going to hold you to another set of standards; that we’re not simply going to lecture you, but we’re rather going to show through how we operate the benefits of these values and ideals.
And the — as a consequence of listening, believing that there aren’t junior partners and senior partners in the international stage, I don’t think that we suddenly transform every foreign policy item that’s on the agenda. I know that in each of these meetings the question has been, well, did you get something specific? What happened here? What happened there?
Countries are going to have interests, and changes in foreign policy approaches by my administration aren’t suddenly going to make all those interests that may diverge from ours disappear. What it does mean, though, is, at the margins, they are more likely to want to cooperate than not cooperate. It means that where there is resistance to a particular set of policies that we’re pursuing, that resistance may turn out just to be based on old preconceptions or ideological dogmas that, when they’re cleared away, it turns out that we can actually solve a problem.
And so we’re still going to have very tough negotiations on a whole host of issues. In Europe, people believe in our plan for Afghanistan, but their politics are still such that it’s hard for leaders to want to send more troops into Afghanistan. That’s not going to change because I’m popular in Europe or leaders think that I’ve been respectful towards them. On the other hand, by having established those better relations, it means that among the population there’s more confidence that working with the United States is beneficial, and they are going to try to do more than they might otherwise have done.
And here in this hemisphere, I think as a consequence of a summit like this, it becomes much easier for our friends — countries like Mexico or Colombia, that are stalwart partners with us on issues like drug trafficking — it becomes much easier for them to work with us because their neighbors and their populations see us as a force for good or at least not a force for ill.
Q Thank you, Mr. President. You’ve heard from a lot of Latin America leaders here who want the U.S. to lift the embargo against Cuba. You’ve said that you think it’s an important leverage to not lift it. But in 2004, you did support lifting the embargo. You said, it’s failed to provide the source of raising standards of living, it’s squeezed the innocent, and it’s time for us to acknowledge that this particular policy has failed. I’m wondering, what made you change your mind about the embargo?