Monday, October 20, 2008

Dick Lugar on Diplomacy

At the National Defense University last week, Senator Dick Lugar, ranking Republican and former Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, "laid out a new foreign policy approach for the next president focusing on energy security, trade, climate change, and pro-active American leadership." Among his remarks were a clear refutation of John McCain's allegation that talking to our enemies is naive and an indication of weakness.
"Clearly, there is truth in the positions of both Senator McCain and Senator Obama. As Senator McCain suggests, there are times when diplomatic approaches to rogue regimes have little efficacy. No President should undertake discussions for the sake of appearances, and the President should be mindful of the legitimacy such talks might confer on particular leaders. But as Senator Obama has argued, isolating regimes, though sometimes necessary, rarely leads to a resolution of contentious issues. He correctly cautions against the implication that hostile nations must be dealt with almost exclusively through isolation or military force. In some cases, refusing to talk can even be dangerous."

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