Negotiating with people who oppose everything that America ought to support has always been a fetish for the Obama administration. Candidate Obama made it quite clear in his 2008 campaign that, in his view, American foreign policy was plagued by unilateralism and triumphalism. Humility and dialogue were needed. The United States, in his view, had been morally compromised by the Bush administration, and an Obama administration would be able to achieve impressive foreign policy results simply by reaching out to foreign regimes we had foolishly considered to be adversaries, when all they were was misunderstood.
It has been a very disappointing six years for these hopes. Things have hardly ever been worse with (deep breath) Russia, Iran, North Korea, China, most of the Middle East—with a special mention for Syria—not to mention with regimes that ought to be friends, or at least friendly, like the governments of Iraq, Yemen, Afghanistan, South Sudan, Israel, and a terrified eastern Europe.