Lugar On Obama, McCain And Iran

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An interesting and over-looked speech last week:

"Clearly, there is truth in the positions of both Senator McCain and Senator Obama. As Senator McCain suggests, there are times when diplomatic approaches to rogue regimes have little efficacy. No President should undertake discussions for the sake of appearances, and the President should be mindful of the legitimacy such talks might confer on particular leaders. But as Senator Obama has argued, isolating regimes, though sometimes necessary, rarely leads to a resolution of contentious issues. He correctly cautions against the implication that hostile nations must be dealt with almost exclusively through isolation or military force. In some cases, refusing to talk can even be dangerous.

Negotiations on some level are particularly necessary in circumstances where the nations in question are prone to miscalculation or misinterpretation of U.S. intentions. For example, I have advocated much more regular contact between the United States and the governments surrounding Iraq, including Iran and Syria, primarily because greater transparency is inherently useful in dealing with regional issues stemming from the Iraq war, including refugee flows, border security, and humanitarian efforts. North Korea offers another example where talks have had inherent value. This is because North Korean assumptions and analysis about the United States and much of the outside world are so frequently distorted and their tendency toward dangerous miscalculation is so pronounced, that efforts to provide the government with a less insular picture of our intentions are essential."

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