POLITICAL observations & opinions

* foreign policy experts comment on the candidates’ views

Posted by Lew Weinstein on September 28, 2008

Today’s Washington Post reports the opinions of foreign policy experts regarding the candidates’ views expressed at their recent debate …



HENRY A. KISSINGER … Former secretary of state and national security adviser

Iranian nuclear military capability is unacceptable. I favor strong sanctions, but before strong sanctions are invoked a diplomatic phase is important. It should be conducted on the working level including, if necessary, the secretary of state. It should not start at the presidential level.


RONALD D. ASMUS … Oversees strategic planning for the German Marshall Fund of the United States, deputy assistant secretary of state for European affairs in the Clinton administration

McCain and Obama essentially agreed on the need for a new policy to face a more aggressive Russia, on continuing NATO enlargement, and support for young democracies in Georgia and Ukraine.

Obama’s emphasis on the need to address America’s fallen standing in the world was impressive. As an American living in Brussels, I see and feel this problem all the time. Fixing our economy and our overseas image are preconditions for the foreign policy comeback we so clearly need.


LMW COMMENT: as Americans living part of the year in France, and travelling extensively in Europe, Pat and I have never met any foreigner who can understand how our country could possibly elect George W. Bush to be its President. In this year’s election, the Europeans we’ve met are excited by the possibility of new directions and restored leadership represented by Barack Obama. While it’s true Europeans can’t vote in our election, the fact that they respect Obama and welcome his presidency will be very helpful in forging the alliances necessary to conduct a rational and effective foreign policy.


NANCY SODERBERG … White House deputy assistant to the president for national security affairs in the Clinton administration

Obama showed he will be a steady, secure and tough on foreign policy

McCain tried to paint himself as the elder, wise statesman, but came across as condescending and very 20th- century.

Obama demonstrated he is tough enough to defend this country.

McCain’s efforts to paint Obama as naive — failed.


STEPHEN P. COHEN … Senior fellow in foreign policy at the Brookings Institution

On substance, Obama won the debate as far as Afghanistan and Pakistan were concerned, but McCain’s discussion of his visits to the federally administered tribal areas and Pakistan probably carried more weight with the average viewer


Read the entire article at … http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/09/27/AR2008092700301.html


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