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View Full Version : Five former U.S. state secretaries urge Iran talks



DenButsu
09-16-2008, 07:43 AM
Geez, everybody - except for McCain - is just loving Obama's foreign policy so much that they just keep taking pages from his book, all the things he has been talking about for years.

For a few months now it's been Bush who has been taking pages from Obama's plans, first agreeing with Iraq to a 16-month timetable for troop withdrawal (Obama's plan), now more aggressively pursuing the war on terror into Pakistan (also an idea Obama has long been pushing for).

Now this from reuters (http://www.reuters.com/articlePrint?articleId=USN1531958420080916):


Five former U.S. state secretaries urge Iran talks

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Five former U.S. secretaries of state said on Monday the next American administration should talk to Iran, a foe President George W. Bush has generally shunned as part of an "axis of evil."

Engaging Iran is important because Washington's military options against Tehran are unsatisfactory, said the diplomats, who worked for Republican and Democratic administrations.

The five -- Colin Powell, Madeleine Albright, Warren Christopher, James Baker and Henry Kissinger -- all said they favored talking to Iran as part of a strategy to stop Tehran's development of a nuclear weapons program.

"Frankly the military options here are very poor. We don't want to go down that route," said Christopher, who worked for former President Bill Clinton from 1993 to 1997.

Powell, who worked for Bush from 2001 to 2005, said U.S. officials in Bush's first term had held low-level talks with the Iranians until 2003 "and then it was stopped."

"I agree with Madeleine, and I suspect my other colleagues, that we should try to talk to them," Powell said during a forum hosted by The George Washington University and taped for broadcast on CNN.

Albright, who was secretary of state in the second Clinton administration, had just told the group: "I believe we need to engage with Iran. I think the whole point is you try to engage and deal with countries that you have problems with."

Dealing with Iran has become an issue in the November U.S. presidential election campaign, with Democrat Barack Obama and Republican John McCain sparring over Obama's stated readiness to talk to Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and other U.S. adversaries if elected president.

McCain has criticized Obama's stand, saying it shows naivete and inexperience.

The United States cut diplomatic ties with Iran in 1980, a year after an Islamic revolution toppled U.S.-backed Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi and months after militant students seized the U.S. Embassy in Tehran and held its staff hostage.

Iran has been on the U.S. list of state sponsors of terrorism for years. Bush has been calling Iran a part of an axis of evil since 2002, and has refused to rule out using military force to stop Iran from acquiring nuclear bombs. Washington also accuses Iran of arming, financing and training Shi'ite militants killing U.S. forces in Iraq.

Iran denies seeking nuclear weapons and blames the U.S. occupation for the violence in Iraq.

In July, the Bush administration shifted tactics and sent an envoy to multilateral nuclear talks with Iran for the first time, seeking to underline Washington's stated position that it wants a diplomatic solution to the impasse.

Baker, who worked for former President George H.W. Bush -- the current president's father -- said talking to the Iranians might be one way to get the message across that the United States could always aim its strategic nuclear arsenal at Iran if Iran developed nuclear weapons and aimed them at the United States or Israel.

"They would understand that, I think," Baker said.


Question of the day:

Will McCain accuse Henry Kissinger - who is one of McCain's own foreign policy advisors - James Baker and Colin Powell of appeasing to terrorists?

:rolleyes:


Once again, more validation that Obama is the one with the better judgment and vision, leading the pack while McCain is left behind alone, looking backwards.

hoosiercubsfan
09-16-2008, 08:13 AM
This all sounds fine and rosy now doesn't it. But do you really believe they are going to all of the sudden say Oh since you are talking to me I will stop what I am doing at once. That they won't play this up on Al Jazera about how these Americans are coming hat in hand to the great and all mighty clerics of Iran. It is worth a shot I guess but I just don't believe that talking to them will accomplish anything whatsoever it would be about as useful as talking to Hugo Chavez at this point. I believe talks will probably come after Israel hits them which I have a feeling is going to happen before they get their nuclear weapons program up and running all the way.

DenButsu
09-16-2008, 08:22 AM
This all sounds fine and rosy now doesn't it. But do you really believe they are going to all of the sudden say Oh since you are talking to me I will stop what I am doing at once. That they won't play this up on Al Jazera about how these Americans are coming hat in hand to the great and all mighty clerics of Iran. It is worth a shot I guess but I just don't believe that talking to them will accomplish anything whatsoever it would be about as useful as talking to Hugo Chavez at this point. I believe talks will probably come after Israel hits them which I have a feeling is going to happen before they get their nuclear weapons program up and running all the way.

But come on. When Obama first talked about this in the primary debates, attempts were made both by the Hillary campaign and by the right to jump all over him for "appeasing to terrorists". Like Obama was absolutely insane to even entertain the notion.

Now FIVE former secretaries of state - 3 from the right and 2 from the left - are essentially endorsing the idea.

Think that collectively they might have a slightly more in depth and comprehensive understanding of foreign relations with Iran than the collective brain trust here in this forum? I'm thinking probably so. :shrug:

At the very least, I think that this pretty definitively puts to rest the idea that for Obama to hold that position is totally outlandish, crazy, foolhardy, etc. For all five of them to be on board with it, they must view it as a rational, reasonable approach.

Which in turn makes McCain's response - and his attempt to exploit Obama's stance by putting his picture side by side with Ahmadenijad's on his website - look like a pretty foolish overreaction.

hoosiercubsfan
09-16-2008, 09:14 AM
But come on. When Obama first talked about this in the primary debates, attempts were made both by the Hillary campaign and by the right to jump all over him for "appeasing to terrorists". Like Obama was absolutely insane to even entertain the notion.

Now FIVE former secretaries of state - 3 from the right and 2 from the left - are essentially endorsing the idea.

Think that collectively they might have a slightly more in depth and comprehensive understanding of foreign relations with Iran than the collective brain trust here in this forum? I'm thinking probably so. :shrug:

At the very least, I think that this pretty definitively puts to rest the idea that for Obama to hold that position is totally outlandish, crazy, foolhardy, etc. For all five of them to be on board with it, they must view it as a rational, reasonable approach.

Which in turn makes McCain's response - and his attempt to exploit Obama's stance by putting his picture side by side with Ahmadenijad's on his website - look like a pretty foolish overreaction.

OK first off I will admit I did not watch a bit of the Democrat debates in their primaries. Sorry I just didn't care who came out of the bunch since I was not voting in their primary. And am not a fan of all of Bush's foreign policy ideas and think a negotiation kind of like what was done with North Korea would be just fine. I did not mean to not talk to them at all but to the point that to do so you have to be careful and play the political game of how it will be portrayed. And as far as what is on McCain's website I could not say because I have never visited it.

DenButsu
09-16-2008, 10:11 AM
Bush has handled North Korea terribly. All they've done under his terms is to increase their military strength, advance their nuclear program, and gain more relevance on the world stage. And it's basically a direct result of a) calling them names ("axis of evil"), b) failing to spend the necessary time and resources on that situation due to the laser focus on Iraq, and c) this bull**** bravado of refusing to acknowledge them by sitting down for bilateral talks.