Saturday, September 27, 2008

Kissinger Pt.2

The Kissinger comments Obama was referencing (almost certainly) came from a CNN forum where 5 former Secretaries of State came together to discuss what advice they would give to the next President. Among other things they discussed Iran, and here's a snippet of what I found on CNN's website:

"The former secretaries of state also focused their attention on talks with Iran. The Bush administration joined the other members of the U.N. Security Council -- Britain, France, China and Russia, along with Germany -- in offering Iran a set of political and economic incentives similar to the ones North Korea was given in exchange for suspending its uranium enrichment program.

But the United States has refused to sit down with Iran until that suspension takes place.

'When I was in office, we had a standing policy with the Iranians. We were ready to talk to them, provided it would be done at an official level, at the level of the secretary of state, and they did -- they wouldn't -- they didn't have enough domestic political support for that,' Baker said.

Kissinger added: 'Well, I am in favor of negotiating with Iran. And one utility of negotiation is to put before Iran our vision of a Middle East, of a stable Middle East, and our notion on nuclear proliferation at a high enough level so that they have to study it. And, therefore, I actually have preferred doing it at the secretary of state level so that we -- we know we're dealing with authentic.'
Now, perhaps Obama should have chosen someone better to quote, but I can see how it would be possible to interpret what Kissinger said here the way he did. Certainly, last night the McCain campaign saw to it that they got Henry on the record right away saying, "Oh no no no! I don't agree with Obama at all!"

Still, what is the substantive difference here that John McCain is so adamant about? He seems almost obsessed with dreaming up bizarre scenarios about Obama meeting with Iran, Cuba, Venezuela and simply letting them dance on the American flag, piss on the carpet in the oval office, and then slap around lady liberty just for effect. But when we're done indulging this interest in dreaming up unrealistic pictures, what is left that matters? Anything???

More clarity comes from fact-checking the debate at ABC News:

"While it appears Kissinger and Senator Barack Obama disagree on what level those talks should occur, they do agree talks should begin, in Kissinger's words, 'at a very high level' and without preconditions.

During the debate, McCain said that Kissinger would not endorse Obama's position that he would meet on a presidential level with leaders of enemy countries. 'I guarantee you he would not say that,' McCain said of Kissinger.

Obama took issue with McCain's characterization of the former top diplomat's position, but just last week Kissinger said that, while he broadly agrees on the need to negotiate with Iran, he 'preferred doing it at the secretary of state level.'

When asked if high level talks with Iran should begin right out of the box, Kissinger replied 'Initially, yes.'

According to Obama's official website he supports 'direct presidential diplomacy with Iran without preconditions.'

On preconditions the two appear to agree. Last week Kissinger also said that 'I do not believe that we can make conditions for the opening of negotiations.'
Ok... so there we have it folks, the big deal is that Obama wants to talk to Iran's leaders himself rather than sending his Sec. of State? Got it. Beyond that, Kissinger and Obama are on the same page, and there you go.

No comments: