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September 26, 2008

What Kissinger said
Posted by Ilan Goldenberg

Pretty simple:

Kissinger: "Well, I am in favor of negotiating with Iran. And one utility of negotiation is to put before Iran our vision of a Middle East, of a stable Middle East, and our notion on nuclear proliferation at a high enough level so that they have to study it. And, therefore, I actually have preferred doing it at the secretary of state level so that we -- we know we're dealing with authentic..." Sesno: "Put at a very high level right out of the box?" Kissinger: "Initially, yes. And I always believed that the best way to begin a negotiation is to tell the other side exactly what you have in mind and what you are -- what the outcome is that you're trying to achieve so that they have something that they can react to. Now, the permanent members of the Security Council, plus Japan and Germany, have all said nuclear weapons in Iran are unacceptable. They've never explained what they mean by this. So if we go into a negotiation, we ought to have a clear understanding of what is it we're trying to prevent. What is it going to do if we can't achieve what we're talking about? But I do not believe that we can make conditions for the opening of negotiations. We ought, however, to be very clear about the content of negotiations and work it out with other countries and with our own government." (CNN's "Live Event," 9/20/08)

Talking to Iran
Posted by Ilan Goldenberg

Here is what Republican secretaries of state and military leaders think about engaging Iran. 

Former Secretaries of State Kissinger, Albright, Powell, and Christopher on Diplomatic engagement with Iran. “Five former U.S. secretaries of state on Monday announced their support for talks with Iran, with all five saying the United States should not wait to launch diplomatic engagements with the Islamic Republic… Moderator Christiane Amanpour of CNN asked the diplomats how they would respond if Iran declared it was prepared to make a deal with the U.S. after the upcoming elections. Kissinger responded "I'm in favor of negotiating with Iran,"… “Albright also issued her support for talks, saying, "We need to engage with Iran. You have to deal with countries you have a problem with." Powell issued a harsh rebuke to those who would stonewall the Islamic Republic, saying, "we should start to talk to them and not wait till later. What are we afraid of?" Former Clinton administration secretary of state Warren Christopher highlighted U.S. military shortcomings in the need to pursue talks, saying, "We cannot afford not to have a dialogue, the military options are very poor." [Haaretz, 9/16/08]

Fmr. Secretary of State Colin Powell: Talk to Iran. Secretary Powell said that “we should start to talk to them.  Don’t wait for a letter coming from them.  Start discussion.  We’ve been talking to them up through 2003.” Asked whether we should “take the initiative?” Powell responded, “Yeah.  We shouldn’t we?  What are we afraid of?  We did.”

Fmr. Secretary of State James Baker: We can contain Iran. “You never hear anything today about the potential for containment.  Now, I realize people will tell you these are nuts, these mullahs and ayatollahs are crazy.  They don’t – they won’t understand containment.  We contained the Soviet Union for 40 years – an overwhelming conventional threat against Western Europe – through the strength of our strategic nuclear deterrent.  We don’t need that nuclear deterrent anymore for Western Europe.  And I think a well placed, quiet, private phone call to the Iranian leadership, if you can find out which leaders to talk to – Chris makes a good point – to the effect, look, if you so much as aim a missile or anything else toward Israel or toward us, our strategic nuclear deterrent can be re-aimed in 20 seconds.  They would understand that I think.”

Fmr. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger: Negotiate with Iran. “I’m in favor of negotiating with Iran.  And one – (unintelligible) – of negotiation is to put before Iran our vision of a Middle East – of a stable Middle East and our notion of nuclear proliferation at a high enough level so that they have to study it; and therefore, I actually prefer doing it at the secretary of state level.”

Major Gaffe: McCain said Pakistan was a failed state
Posted by Max Bergmann

McCain just badly misstated the history of Pakistan. For someone claiming extensive foreign policy knowledge, this is simply not acceptable. McCain said Pakistan was a failed state before President Musharraf came to power. That is not true.

Musharraf took power in a military coup in 1999 when he diposed Nawaz Sharif - who recently participated in the latest election. The coup followed the 1999 war in Kashmir with India and was due to a power struggle with Sharif, not due to Pakistan being a "failed state." The United States did not welcome the Musharraf coup. Instead the government of the United States imposed sanctions against this action.

Remember Pakistan had nuclear weapons in 1999. Did McCain believe that there was a failed state that possessed nuclear weapons? If he did he showed no concern at the time. The fact is McCain made a huge gaffe and demonstrated he has little understanding if the region.

McCain and the Allies He Snubbed
Posted by Patrick Barry

John McCain has said that he would use a league of democracies to build world consensus around dealing with Iran.  But McCain has a long history of alienating our allies and treating them with utter disdain:

Continue reading "McCain and the Allies He Snubbed" »

Posted by Ilan Goldenberg

McCain's answer for Iran is the League of Democracies.  Too bad the idea of getting a League of Democracies is basically impossible.  The other idea would be to talk to them.  An idea that for which there is a bipartisan consensus on the need to talk to Iran.  Five secretaries of state including Henry Kissinger and Jim Baker all agreed recently that we have to talk to them directly.  Obama’s plan calls for tough direct diplomacy in combination with sanctions and other pressures.  McCain’s plan of refusing to talk is the same policy that George Bush pursued until very recently – a policy that has failed and that if continued will one day force the U.S. to make a no-win decision between attacking Iran or allowing it to attain a nuclear weapons capability.

Continue reading "Iran " »

Charlie Wilson's War
Posted by Ilan Goldenberg

So McCain references the U.S. walkout of Afghanistan in the early 1990s and says we shouldn't do it again.  Here's the problem.  He supported a much more egregious walk out after 2001.

Continue reading "Charlie Wilson's War" »

Central Front on War on Terror IS in Afghanistan and Pakistan
Posted by Max Bergmann

Senator McCain has paid almost no attention to the conflict in Afghanistan. He has said that we would "muddle through" there and said we had achieved victory in Afghanistan.  All the while Al Qaeda and the Taliban have established a safe haven along the Afghanistan and Pakistan border. And the GAO says we have "no comprehensive strategy" and that the threat from Al Qaeda to the homeland of the United States has never been greater. That is the central front in the "war on terror."

Read past the jump for more:

Continue reading "Central Front on War on Terror IS in Afghanistan and Pakistan" »

President Kadari?
Posted by Patrick Barry

John McCain just referred to Pakistani President Kadari.  Of course, there is no such person.  The President of Pakistan is Asif Ali Zadari.  WHOOPS.  I guess we know who knows how to work with Pakistan.

Voting Against the Troops
Posted by Ilan Goldenberg

This is ridiculous.  The voting against the troops arguement is absurd.  McCain did it just like Obama.  I've made this argument before.

I wanted to focus on McCain's claim that Obama "voted against troop funding."  Well guess what?  So did John McCain.  Last year during the fight over Iraq troop funding and withdrawal from Iraq we saw two rounds of bills.  The first would force the President to begin withdrawing troops within 120 days.  It passed and was vetoed by the President.  John McCain voted against it and supported Bush's veto. So according to John McCain's own definition he himself voted against funding the troops.  Obama voted against the second round of bills, which did not include any attempt to force the President to bring American troops home.

McCain on Afghanistan
Posted by Patrick Barry

What Obama said:

Continue reading "McCain on Afghanistan" »

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