Clinton, McCain : ME peace high on our agenda
US presidential candidates reiterate Iran must not be allowed nuclear weapons, advocate strengthened sanctions.
By HILARY LEILA KRIEGER, JERUSALEM POST CORRESPONDENT
October 16, 2007 00:33
2 minute read.
(photo credit: AP)
Establishing peace between Israelis and Palestinians would be a priority in a Clinton or McCain administration, both candidates wrote in foreign policy tracts released Monday.
They both also reiterated that Iran must not be allowed nuclear weapons, advocating strengthened sanctions while indicating that no option should be taken off the table.
Both Senators Hillary Clinton (D-New York) and John McCain (R-Arizona) were writing for Foreign Affairs; the respected policy periodical is publishing a series of detailed foreign policy platforms by the leading presidential candidates.
Both senators' comments contrasted with those of former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, who wrote in an earlier edition of Foreign Affairs that "too much emphasis" has been placed on brokering negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians when that could lead to "the creation of another state that will support terrorism."
While McCain did not call explicitly call for a Palestinian state, he did say, "The long-elusive quest for peace between Israel and the Palestinians must remain a priority. But the goal must be genuine peace, and so Hamas must be isolated even as the United States intensifies its commitment to finding an enduring settlement."
Clinton stressed the role of US diplomacy in reaching a two-state solution.
"US diplomacy is critical in helping to resolve this conflict. In addition to facilitating negotiations, we must engage in regional diplomacy to gain Arab support for a Palestinian leadership that is committed to peace and willing to engage in a dialogue with the Israelis," she wrote. "Whether or not the United States makes progress in helping to broker a final agreement, consistent US involvement can lower the level of violence and restore our credibility in the region."
Clinton also advocated engagement with Iran, as well as the possibility of rewards for good behavior. At the same time, she said that the Islamic Republic must comply with international demands regarding its nuclear program: "True statesmanship requires that we engage with our adversaries, not for the sake of talking but because robust diplomacy is prerequisite to achieving our aims."
She also derided the Bush administration's "false choices" of "force versus diplomacy" and "unilateralism versus multilateralism." She wrote that she wouldn't shrink from using force or going it alone if necessary, but that multilateralism would be the preferred route.
McCain advocated more independence on sanction-policy toward Iran by leading a multilateral sanctions and divestment program independent of the United Nations, should the UN not take sufficient action.
He described Teheran's ties to terrorism and its aide to extremist groups, part of what he said was the defining foreign policy issue for the country. "Defeating radical Islamist extremists is the national security challenge of our time," he said.