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Sunday, September 28, 2008

McCain was wrong on Kissinger

Jim Lehrer missed an opportunity last night to help clarify for people watching the debate what is in dispute between Democrats like Barack Obama and Republicans like John McCain about U.S. policy towards Iran. For the record, this is what McCain adviser former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger said about U.S. policy towards Iran, according to the transcript on CNN's website:

"I am in favor of negotiating with Iran.... But I do not believe
that we can make conditions for the opening of negotiations."

This was at an event with five former U.S. Secretaries of State, three Republicans (Kissinger, Powell, and Baker) and two Democrats (Christopher and Albright.) All five agreed that the U.S. should negotiate with Iran, without preconditions.

What "without preconditions" means in this context is quite straightforward and well-known. The current policy of the Bush Administration has been that the United States will not enter into substantive talks with Iran unless Iran first agrees to suspend the enrichment of uranium. The five former U.S. Secretaries of State agreed that this was a mistake, and that the United States should drop this precondition for the beginning of talks.


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