Hillary Clinton penned a piece for Foreign Affairs Magazine on foreign policy: Security and Opportunity for the Twenty-first Century. It’s a long an interesting read that stirred up once again the kerfluffle over Hillary’s intentions with Iran while she made clear that getting out of Iraq is tantamount:
Ending the war in Iraq is the first step toward restoring the United States’ global leadership. The war is sapping our military strength, absorbing our strategic assets, diverting attention and resources from Afghanistan, alienating our allies, and dividing our people. The war in Iraq has also stretched our military to the breaking point. We must rebuild our armed services and restore them body and soul.
We must withdraw from Iraq in a way that brings our troops home safely, begins to restore stability to the region, and replaces military force with a new diplomatic initiative to engage countries around the world in securing Iraq’s future. To that end, as president, I will convene the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the secretary of defense, and the National Security Council and direct them to draw up a clear, viable plan to bring our troops home, starting within the first 60 days of my administration.
While working to stabilize Iraq as our forces withdraw, I will focus U.S. aid on helping Iraqis, not propping up the Iraqi government. Financial resources will go only where they will be used properly, rather than to government ministries or ministers that hoard, steal, or waste them.
As we leave Iraq militarily, I will replace our military force with an intensive diplomatic initiative in the region. The Bush administration has belatedly begun to engage Iran and Syria in talks about the future of Iraq. This is a step in the right direction, but much more must be done. As president, I will convene a regional stabilization group composed of key allies, other global powers, and all the states bordering Iraq. Working with the newly appointed UN special representative for Iraq, the group will be charged with developing and implementing a strategy for achieving a stable Iraq that provides incentives for Iran, Saudi Arabia, Syria, and Turkey to stay out of the civil war.
It’s worth taking the time to read Clinton’s piece and then follow up with this OP/ED from General Wesley Clark: Clinton’s approach deters a rush to war.
In the back and forth on Iran, one critical issue is being missed: which candidate will create the strategic shift necessary to deal with the challenge of Iran and help end the fighting in the Middle East? I believe that candidate is Hillary Rodham Clinton.
Last month, Senator Clinton voted for a non-binding resolution that urges the administration to designate the Iranian Revolutionary Guard a terrorist organization in order to strengthen our diplomatic hand. And earlier this month, she joined Sen. Jim Webb in co-sponsoring a bill that would prohibit the use of funds for military action in Iran without specific authorization by Congress. Her strong support for congressional leverage and a strong national posture is what is needed to engage Iran.
I have supported Senator Clinton in both these votes. She is committed to ending the unilateralism of the Bush-Cheney administration. She is a strong supporter of direct nuclear talks with Iran because she believes that direct dialogue with our adversaries is a sign of strength and confidence, and a prerequisite to achieving America’s goals and objectives.
That is why I am so dismayed and disappointed about political attacks that misrepresent the senator’s positions and betray a fundamental misunderstanding about how to conduct effective diplomacy in the 21st century.
Read both Clinton’s piece and Wes Clark’s and judge for yourself, I simply don’t see Hillary rushing us to war with Iran, as some are concerned she will. I’ll leave the foreign policy analysis to others today.