Watch it here, on CNN. (Click on CNN Live).
No foreign policy or national security speech better reflects Obama's political and personal orientation than the remarks he's delivering today in Iowa. It represents his consensus instincts and the worldview of chief policy advisers like Tony Lake and Samantha Power.
As I'm watching the speech right now, Obama is stressing judgment, urgency and Iraq.
"It's not about debating the past. It's about who got the single most important foreign policy decision [in the past fifty years] right?"
"I am not running for president to conform to Washington's conventional thinking. I'm running to challenge it."
The "nuclear free world" concept is not new; it has gained currency in the very foreign policy establishment that Obama has generally set his candidacy against.Obama believes, as Hillary Clinton does, that a nuclear deterrence is still relevant; he will not unilaterally disarm. The difference, in Obama's mind, is that he has the will and vision to take steps that Hillary Clinton would not. Nuclear diplomacy, in this conception, requires conversations and negotiations with tyrants as well as allies. (Like Reagan did).
"As president, I will say that America seeks a world in which there are no nuclear weapons."
Here are the campaign's bullet points. Obama would "challenge Washington's conventional thinking" by...
-- Ending the war in Iraq
-- Ensuring there is no safe haven for Al Qaeda
-- Securing loose nuclear material and renewing our efforts towards eliminating nuclear weapons and stopping the threat of nuclear terrorism
-- Talking directly to friend and foe
-- Strengthening the State Department to make diplomacy a priority
-- Reversing Washington’s reliance on secrecy by establishing a National Declassification Center
-- Getting politics out of intelligence by giving the Director of National Intelligence a fixed term
-- Uniting America behind a non-partisan foreign policy
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