Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama blamed the Bush administration’s war in Iraq for strengthening Iran’s strategic position in the Middle East. Obama has also called for direct talks with Iran about their development of a nuclear weapons program. “One of the most profound consequences of the administration’s failed strategy in Iraq has been to strengthen Iran’s strategic position; reduce U.S. credibility and influence in the region; and placeTop of FormBottom of Form Israel and other nations friendly to the United States in greater peril,” Obama said during a speech to the pro-Israel lobby, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee.

The White House recently reversed its position on talks with Iran and Syria. U.S. Sec. of State Condi Rice said this week that the U.S. is willing to sit down with Iran and talk about securing Iraq. During the speech, Obama also renewed his commitment to the security of Israel. “Our job is to renew the United States’ efforts to … help Israel achieve peace with its neighbors while remaining vigilant against those who do not share that vision,” Obama said.

Sen. Obama also said that the world must work together to stop Iran from developing nuclear weapons. “While we should take no option, including military action, off the table, sustained and aggressive diplomacy combined with tough sanctions should be our primary means to prevent Iran from building nuclear weapons,” Obama said. The Illinois senator said that is Iran develops weapons it could destabilize the whole region, and set off a new arms race. 

Obama’s views on the value of diplomacy appear to much more the traditional Democratic stance as opposed to Hillary Clinton’s attempts to out tough the Republicans. The reality is that a hard line stance, or military action, will only make this situation worse. This is a looming crisis that must be handled diplomatically. It is a not a surprise to anyone who has followed the Middle East that the destabilization of Iraq has created a power vacuum that Iran is all too happy to fill. I’ve always wondered why the White House didn’t listen to the experts who told them that is exactly what would happen if they invaded Iraq. As this administration has demonstrated, ideology, stubbornness, and ineptitude can form a dangerous cocktail, which always has lethal results. 

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