John Edwards on Foreign Policy
Democratic Nominee for Vice President; NC Jr Senator
EDWARDS: We've been largely absent, though not entirely absent, from the peace-making process over the last 4 years. The Israeli people not only have the right to defend themselves, they should defend themselves. They have an obligation to defend themselves. We know that the prime minister has made a decision, an historic decision, to unilaterally withdraw from Gaza. It's important for America to participate in helping with that process. Now, if Gaza's being used as a platform for attacking the Israeli people, that has to be stopped. They don't have a partner for peace right now. They certainly don't have a partner in Arafat, and they need a legitimate partner for peace. It is very important for America to crack down on the Saudis who have not had a public prosecution for financing terrorism since 9/11. And it's important for America to confront the situation in Iran, because Iran is an enormous threat to Israel and to the Israeli people.
EDWARDS: Cheney talks about there being a member, or someone associated with Al Qaida, in Iraq. There are 60 countries who have members of Al Qaida in them. How many of those countries are we going to invade? Not only that, he talks about Iran. The reality is that Iran has moved forward with their nuclear weapons program on their watch. They ceded responsibility to dealing with it to the Europeans. We need to strengthen the sanctions on Iran, including closing the loophole that allows companies to do business with Iran.
EDWARDS: Yes. That's exactly what should happen. What I would do as president is pick two or three respected world leaders, like President Clinton did back in the '90. Send them to the region. Work on a political solution.
Q: It might be too late.
EDWARDS: Maybe. We are in this situation because this is so typical of this president's disengagement in this entire hemisphere. In fact, he's done it all over the world. But this is a perfect example.
Q: Are you saying he could have prevented this?
EDWARDS: I'm saying, if we had stayed involved, we would have seen this coming a lot sooner, and we could have gotten involved and engaged.
Q: Would you take them in at the US border?
EDWARDS: Those who were fleeing for political asylum, yes.
A: I would put the Iraqi Civilian Authority under the control of the United Nations today. That should have been done a long time ago. Use that to create the kind of energy we need to bring allies and friends to this effort, to help relieve the burden on American troops, relieve the burden on American taxpayers. And also put a stop to these sweetheart deals for Halliburton, the president's friends.
EDWARDS: Unfortunately what we see happening on the ground in Iraq right now is part of a long-term pattern by this president. He stubbornly continues to fight an effort to bring others in, to relinquish some responsibility, some control in order to bring our friends and allies into this effort.
This started a long time ago. It began with his unilateral disengagement from Kyoto, unilateral disengagement from the biological weapons convention, a whole series of nuclear nonproliferation agreements.
I will lead in a way that shows that America is strong, but at the same time that we will solve the world's problems with the rest of the world in a multilateral, coalition-building way, because that is the most effective way to create respect for America. And at the end of the day, the American people are safer and more secure in a world where America is looked up to and respected.
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