Sunday, January 11, 2009

Obama on ABC's This Week

President elect Barack Obama indicated his foreign policy priorities to George Stephanopoulos of ABC's This Week. On Gaza, Obama said he would begin work immediately.

"The reason it's so important for the United States to be engaged and involved immediately, not waiting until the end of their term, is because working through the politics of this requires a third party that everybody has confidence [in], wants to see a fair and just outcome," he said.

How does an AIPAC affiliated, neocon qualify as a fair third party? Dennis Ross is the President elect's top adviser on the Middle East & Iran. On Iran, America's 44th President offered:

Obama also said he would take a new approach toward Iran that would both emphasize respect for its people and spell out expectations for its leaders.

Obama said he was concerned about the Islamic republic's support of the Lebanese Shi'ite movement Hezbollah and about Iran's nuclear enrichment, which he said could trigger a Middle East arms race.

And Israel's steamrolling of Lebanon in 2006 and Gaza today haven't encouraged Middle Eastern countries to rapidly arm? Who's selling those arms to Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt, and Turkey? America is.

He indicated the approach to Iran. America will tell Persian leaders what they must do to comply, with answers required in short order.

"We are going to have to take a new approach. And I've outlined my belief that engagement is the place to start," he said.

"We are in preparations for that. We anticipate that we're going to have to move swiftly in that area," Obama said.

Rep. Howard Berman was remarkably prescient on Gaza, laying out the strategy nine days before Israel pulled the trigger. Is he visionary on Iran? If so, expect a three month window of engagement. If Iran doesn't comply? Bunker busters over Bushehr.

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