Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Obama and Foreign Policy

The Senator from Illinois recently gave a speech on foreign policy (I don't know where). Some excerpts and comments:
Moreover, until we change our approach in Iraq, it will be increasingly difficult to refocus our efforts on the challenges in the wider region – on the conflict in the Middle East, where Hamas and Hezbollah feel emboldened and Israel’s prospects for a secure peace seem uncertain; on Iran, which has been strengthened by the war in Iraq; and on Afghanistan, where more American forces are needed to battle al Qaeda, track down Osama bin Laden, and stop that country from backsliding toward instability.
I understand and even agree with the argument that freeing up troops in Iraq can help the ongoing conflict in Afghanistan. But I don't understand how it helps with Hamas, Hezbollah, Israel, and/or Iran.
Our interests are best served when people and governments from Jerusalem and Amman to Damascus and Tehran understand that America will stand with our friends, work hard to build a peaceful Middle East, and refuse to cede the future of the region to those who seek perpetual conflict and instability.
Is he arguing that the U.S. should stay in Iraq? That's what it sounds like. When he talks about "those who seek perpetual conflict and instability," isn't he referring to Iran and Al Qaeda? Doesn't this say that the U.S. should not allow these groups any more influence in Iraq?

Apparently not, because he follows it with...
Such effective diplomacy cannot be done on the cheap, nor can it be warped by an ongoing occupation of Iraq. Instead, it will require patient, sustained effort, and the personal commitment of the President of the United States.
The dude sounds pretty naïve to think "effective diplomacy" and "personal commitment" will convince Iran to stop exporting revolution and terror. Iran was working to destabilize the region long before 2003, and will continue doing so long after U.S. troops leave the region. The question is whether the troops will be leaving behind a relatively peaceful, stable community.

P.S. - Sen. Obama apparently believes the Iraq occupation is having a negative influence on negotiations with Iran. Really? Having 140,000 potentially hostile troops in the vicinity has no salutary effect on the Iranian leadership?