Weblog Commenting and Trackback by HaloScan.com The Barnyard: John McCain At AIPAC

Monday, June 02, 2008

John McCain At AIPAC

McCain delivered a real stemwinder today to the American Israeli Political Action Conference that shows he gets "it" especially in regards to the mad mullahs of Iran. The full text is here but this is a key excerpt.

European negotiators have proposed a peaceful endgame for Tehran, should it abandon its nuclear ambitions and comply with UN Security Council resolutions. The plan offers far-reaching economic incentives, external support for a civilian nuclear energy program, and integration into the international community. But Tehran has said no.

The Iranians have spent years working toward a nuclear program. And the idea that they now seek nuclear weapons because we refuse to engage in presidential-level talks is a serious misreading of history. In reality, a series of administrations have tried to talk to Iran, and none tried harder than the Clinton administration. In 1998, the secretary of state made a public overture to the Iranians, laid out a roadmap to normal relations, and for two years tried to engage. The Clinton administration even lifted some sanctions, and Secretary Albright apologized for American actions going back to the 1950s. But even under President Khatami -- a man by all accounts less radical than the current president -- Iran rejected these overtures.

Even so, we hear talk of a meeting with the Iranian leadership offered up as if it were some sudden inspiration, a bold new idea that somehow nobody has ever thought of before. Yet it's hard to see what such a summit with President Ahmadinejad would actually gain, except an earful of anti-Semitic rants, and a worldwide audience for a man who denies one Holocaust and talks before frenzied crowds about starting another. Such a spectacle would harm Iranian moderates and dissidents, as the radicals and hardliners strengthen their position and suddenly acquire the appearance of respectability.

Rather than sitting down unconditionally with the Iranian president or supreme leader in the hope that we can talk sense into them, we must create the real-world pressures that will peacefully but decisively change the path they are on. Essential to this strategy is the UN Security Council, which should impose progressively tougher political and economic sanctions. Should the Security Council continue to delay in this responsibility, the United States must lead like-minded countries in imposing multilateral sanctions outside the UN framework. I am proud to have been a leader on these issues for years, having coauthored the 1992 Iran-Iraq Arms Non-Proliferation Act. Over a year ago I proposed applying sanctions to restrict Iran's ability to import refined petroleum products, on which it is highly dependent, and the time has come for an international campaign to do just that. A severe limit on Iranian imports of gasoline would create immediate pressure on Khamenei and Ahmadinejad to change course, and to cease in the pursuit of nuclear weapons.


Gayle said...

I heard his speech, Goat, and it was indeed right on the mark. He does indeed "get it!"

Amy Proctor said...

I watched this speech on C-Span last night and he was incredible! I loved it. I couldn't record it because we're living out of hotels now pending our move to Korea, but I wish my laptop had the capability to record. It was that good. He made excellent points about meeting with Ahmadinejad and so on.... really great stuff.

Goat said...

I have only heard clips on the radio and indeed he was on a roll. John is a far more persuasive speaker than many give him credit for.