Richardson on Iran
While Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama engage in a schoolyard fight over whose campaign David Geffen should belong to, Governor Richardson has penned a thoughtful op-ed on what American policy towards Iran should look like.
Without Richardson's diplomacy, North Korea never would have come back to the table for six party talks, and reach any agreement (large or small) on nuclear weapons. Unfortunately, on too many occasions the Bush Administration has been a bully, preferring to beat on its chest and spew rhetoric like a bunch of blowhards at a particular nation deemed "evil". Richardson brought North Korea back to the table.
No nation has ever been forced to renounce nuclear weapons, but many have chosen to do so. The Iranians will not end their nuclear program because we threaten them and call them names. They will renounce nukes because we convince them that they will be safer and more prosperous if they do that than if they don't. This feat will take more than threats and insults. It will take skillful American diplomatic leadership.
Diplomacy is more than just talking to people. It requires speaking credibly from a position of strength. As the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, as energy secretary, as a member of Congress and as a diplomatic envoy, I have always believed in and worked to achieve tough, credible and direct negotiations with adversaries. To be tough, you need strong alliances and a strong military. And to be credible, you need a record of meaning what you say. By alienating our allies, overextending our military, making idle threats and antagonizing just about everyone, the Bush administration has undermined our diplomatic leverage.
Bill Richardson understands that you can't make peace by talking with your friends. You have to directly engage your enemies, listen to them and show them respect. With these things, peaceful, diplomatic solutions are possible. Without them, the prospect of war looms.
In 2008, there is only one candidate with the experience to handle all of the foreign policy disasters created by the Bush Administration. His name is Bill Richardson.