January 8, 2008

THE OTHER REPUBLICANS:

WHERE IS WAZIRISTAN?: A Look at the Candidates' Foreign Policy Positions: It is commonly believed in Europe that anyone would be more competent that George W. Bush when it comes to foreign policy. But with Clinton tough on Iran and most of the Republicans willing to follow Bush off the foreign policy cliff, that could be a pipe dream. (John C. Hulsman, 1/08/08, Der Spiegel)

THE DEMOCRATS:

Hillary Clinton is easily the most hawkish on Iran of the major Democratic candidates. The senator from New York would first delight Europeans with her emphasis that America ought to negotiate unconditionally and directly with Tehran, and the sooner the better. Berlin, Paris, and London would also be pleased that she has consistently placed the emphasis on sanctions as the tool of choice in confronting the mullahs. She has also approvingly cited the Libyan and North Korean examples, pointing out that sanctions likely helped convince those regimes to back down from the nuclear brink.

But the cheering on the continent would stop there. For Senator Clinton makes it quite clear that she "will do everything in her power to prevent Iran from having a nuclear weapon." In other words, force remains squarely on the table. Clinton is ready to give multilateralism and sanctions -- those icons of conventional European thinking on diplomacy -- a real try. But if they fail, her position is not all that different from that of George W. Bush.

Barack Obama [:] Generally and uniquely, Obama calls for America to negotiate without preconditions with everyone, seeing this as the only way to solve international problems. Furthermore, to the delight of European elites, Obama thinks these negotiations should take place within existing multilateral institutions. Indeed, he is by far the firmest adherent to this centerpiece of European thought.

Americans, though, tend to be far more impressed by results (or the lack of them) than by process, and Obama is far from clear on what happens should well-meaning negotiations with Iran fail, nor does he elucidate what happens if endless conferences fail to yield results in other areas. In other words, he is unclear, in a way Senator Clinton is not, on the role power plays in foreign policy formulation. As always, Obama's rhetoric is intriguing, but his ideas have yet to be fully formed.


Both Ms Clinton and Mr. Obama are so inexperienced and perceived as so weak on foreign policy that they'd be forced to overreact in any "crisis" just to try and gain some street cred.

Posted by Orrin Judd at January 8, 2008 8:24 AM
Comments

I particularyly liked this about Obama:

Americans, though, tend to be far more impressed by results (or the lack of them) than by process, and Obama is far from clear on what happens should well-meaning negotiations with Iran fail, nor does he elucidate what happens if endless conferences fail to yield results in other areas.

Posted by: Benny at January 8, 2008 2:37 PM

It's actually much worse than that.

Mrs. BJ and Baraka Hussein Obama, to varying degrees, could very well tempt the bad guys to attack Israel and thus get us into a major war.

Posted by: Lou Gots at January 8, 2008 3:44 PM

Hopefully.

Posted by: oj at January 8, 2008 6:41 PM
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