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800 Views 13 Replies 5 Participants Last post by  DarthBaiter

DOES Barack Obama intend to break the united front that the Bush administration has built to deal with Iran's nuclear ambitions? The question, posed by US allies in Europe and the Middle East, shows the growing concerns about Obama's contradictory remarks on the issue.

Initially, Obama announced that he'd seek unconditional talks with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Later, he changed that to talks with "appropriate Iranian leaders" and tried to skirt the "unconditional" bit of his pledge by saying that some "preparatory work" might be needed before he'd sit with an Iranian interlocutor.

What isn't clear is whether Obama would insist that Iran respect the unanimous decision of the UN Security Council to stop uranium enrichment.

The new UN compromise package, presented by the European Union foreign-policy czar Javier Solana to the mullahs this month, is structured around the demand that Iran stop enrichment as prerequisite for dialogue.

Tehran, however, insists that the enrichment issue is "closed for ever" - clearly hoping that an Obama administration would endorse that position. If the US is likely to drop that key demand soon, there's no reason why Iran should meet it now.

Obama, in other words, pulled the carpet from under Solana's feet while the mullahs watched and chuckled.

European anxiety about possible US defection under a President Obama is reflected in an op-ed published last week by British Foreign Secretary David Milliband. In it, he insists that diplomatic efforts backed by UN resolutions shouldn't be interrupted or sidelined.

By ignoring the European Union and the United Nations, Obama would only encourage the Khomeinist leadership's most radical factions.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy also worries that an Obama administration might "give the mullahs what they want." Francois Heisbourg, who helped author Sarkozy's new national-defense review, warns that Obama's position could undermine confidence in US leadership.

"Dropping a unanimous Security Council condition would simply be interpreted by Iran and America's allies as unconditional surrender and America's friends would view this as confirmation of America's basic unreliability," Heisbourg, one of Europe's leading strategic analysts, told The Washington Post - "a **** of a way to start a presidential term."

Heisbourg has published a book arguing that Iran's nuclear ambitions, if not nipped in the bud, could lead to bigger and costlier conflicts, even war.

Obama's potentially dangerous stance is the result of a naive belief that he could persuade the mullahs to do what several other countries have done - abandoning their nuclear ambitions.

The point is hammered in an op-ed co-authored by Zbigniew Bzrezinski last week. Bzrezinski, President Jimmy Carter's former national security adviser and now one of Obama's "grand old men," claims that Tehran is seeking the bomb because the Bush administration is threatening it with military action.

Hmm. The latest volume in the memoirs of former President Hashemi Rafsanjani, published last year, states that the mullahs started their secret nuclear program in 1984 have - 16 years before Bush won the Oval Office.

Bzrezinski doesn't explain why he expects the mullahs to abandon a program that they've clung to in the face of diplomatic isolation, economic sanctions and the threat of war. He demonstrates a remarkable ignorance of the facts of international life when he claims that Iran would voluntarily give up its quest for nuclear weapons, presumably because of Obama's undeniable charm.

Yes, several nations have scrapped nuclear programs at different times. But all did so after the regime that had started the program had been consigned to the dustbin of history: Germany, after Hitler was gone; South Africa, once the apartheid regime had collapsed; Brazil and Argentina, after the military regimes that had started the programs were toppled. Ukraine and Kazakhstan gave up their nuclear weapons after the USSR's fall enabled them to become independent and build new regimes.

Rather than weakening what is, after all, his own side, Obama should support the EU-US package that Solana presented with unanimous support from the Security Council. He can, if he so wishes, keep the door open for a tete à tete with "appropriate Iranian leaders" - but he shouldn't give the impression that he's breaking the UN-backed coalition that's trying to persuade Tehran to reconsider its dangerous ambitions.

Sabotaging the Solana mission wouldn't make it any easier for a putative President Obama to charm the mullahs out of their deadly hubris.

Again - bad judgement?


Obama says sanctions for Iran while McCain says shield

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama called Iran a threat that should be contained with diplomacy and tighter sanctions on Wednesday, and Republican John McCain said Tehran's missile test proved the need for a missile defense shield in Europe.

Iran launched nine medium- and long-range missiles to warn the United States and Israel it was ready to retaliate if they attacked over its disputed nuclear projects. Oil prices climbed on the news.

The candidates, who will face off in the November election, used the event to underline their contrasting approaches to the Middle East, which has been supplanted as U.S. voters' No. 1 issue by the struggling economy.

"I think what this underscores is the need for us to create a kind of policy that is putting the burden on Iran to change behavior, and frankly we just have not been able to do that over the last several years," the Illinois senator said on CBS television's "Early Show."

Obama, who called Iran a "great threat" on ABC's "Good Morning America, said President George W. Bush has not backed up confrontational rhetoric with economic sanctions. Obama cited reports indicating that U.S. exports to Iran have increased during Bush's years in office.

McCain, who has called Obama's willingness to meet with U.S. foes such as Iran naive, said the Iranian tests proved the need for a missile-defense shield in Europe.

"Working with our European and regional allies is the best way to meet the threat posed by Iran, not unilateral concessions that undermine multilateral diplomacy," McCain said in a prepared statement.

The United States on Tuesday signed a pact to build part of the missile shield in the Czech Republic. The Bush administration also wants to install facilities in Poland, although talks have stalled.

These efforts have angered Russia, which has said it will respond militarily if a shield is deployed near its borders.

He (OB) still wants to pursue talks & offer them incentives. All of which have failed since day one.

This post edited by wader 10:50 AM 07/09/2008
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No let's bomb them and forget about negotiations

Yeeehaaaaaaaaaa I'm a rootin tootin cowboy..kill kill kill.. it's how we solve everything

Diplomacy shmiplomacy... who needs it right

As of now we can't defend ourselves from a attack, so let's take on a third country

Easy sitting here typing in air conditioning.. let's send more kids to fight for oil..
As long as I don't see them and get out on my boat later in my speedos the world is great

Hey they're only kids, they'll get over it. They'll pay the 450 billiion dollar deficit down too with those high paying jobs

Build more multi million dollar missiles
Kill kill kill
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Last I checked, North Korea gave up thier reactor without a shot fired, Mike.. with all due respect...

Although I'm sure they made thier money buy proving that they have the know how. Can't stop that. Just ask Pakistan. They sold to everybody.

But that's another thread. Think he'd be able to do anything at all with out oil money?

I don't see where he is undermining anything, I've read both articles..
Not wearing my rose colored glasses today maybe that's why?

Last I heard people where blasting him because he wants to enter discussions at the top.. not going now..

so let's see so far his major crimes are:

1. Saying, before election day, he wants to make sure the troops are safe during any timetable discussions..

2. He refused 85 million dollars of taxpayer money because he has enough in private donations...

3. He wants high level discussions with our enemies.

I sense some straw grasping.

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That's an opinion. Didn't see it on today.

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