I do not find myself in agreement with Senator Edwards with regards to a treaty with Iran.
"I wouldn't give away anything until it became clear what the intent of Iran was, that they've given up any nuclear ambition, that they would no longer sponsor Hezbollah, Hamas and other terrorist organizations," Edwards told ABC News, in an interview to be broadcast on "Nightline" Monday night. "So there would be huge jumps and these things would all have to be verifiable. We'd have to be certain that they were occurring in order to get to that stage. But I think we would consider all of our relations on the table."As a centrist Democrat, I would tend to agree with this assessment with regards to the party.
Edwards' willingness to pursue a nonaggression pact with the Iranian government could put him at odds not just with President Bush, but also with his Democratic rivals, none of whom has gone as far in advocating an alternative to the administration's increasingly confrontational stance toward Tehran. But Edwards' statement could win him support of many Democratic primary voters, who are deeply mistrustful of the president's policies and motives and deeply concerned about the possibility of another war in the Middle East.
In the "Nightline" interview, Edwards also specifically refused to say whether, as president, he would be willing to use military force to stop Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons.
"It really limits our choices," says a prominent Democratc organizer who had close ties not only to Vilsack, but also to two other centrists who decided not to run -- Indiana Senator and former Governor Evan Bayh and former Virginia Governor Mark Warner.In other news dealing with Iran, here's what Senator Chuck Hagel had to say.
An additional problem is that the Democratic front runners are all veterans of Washington and have no experience actually running a government. Clinton and Obama are senators, and Edwards is a former senator. In recent years, it has been governors who gave the Democrats their White House successes -- former Arkansas Governor Bill Clinton in 1992 and 1996, and former Georgia Governor Jimmy Carter in 1976. Party insiders say New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson could fill the bill, but he lags far behind the front runners in national and state polls, and apparently in the money race.
Hagel, the most strident anti-Iraq war critic in the Republican Party and a potential presidential candidate, addressed the Jewish Council for Public Affairs plenum in Washington on Monday.
“By refusing to engage with Iran, we are perpetuating dangerous geopolitical unpredictabilities,” Hagel said.
“Our refusal to recognize Iran’s influence does not decrease its influence, but increases it.”
The Bush administration, backed by much of the pro-Israel community, rejects deep engagement as long as Iran does not come clean about its nuclear ambitions.
Hagel was well received at the plenum, which formulates Jewish community policy through national consensus.