Addict (drugaddict) wrote,
Addict
drugaddict

Bill Richardson for President?

Check it out. Far beyond the possibility of being the first Hispanic
president, Richardson has the most impressive resume, the best prior
experience for someone in the top job. He was born in California, raised
in Mexico City and Boston (his father comes from a distinguished line of
Boston scientists and businessmen), graduated from the Middlesex School,
BA and MA from Tufts University. Worked in Congressional liaison and
human rights at the State Department, 14 years in Congress, helped as an
envoy to arrange prisoner releases, Ambassador to the United Nations,
Secretary of Energy, two terms as New Mexico governor. (Look at his bio
on Wikipedia; access to his presidential campaign website was too slow
for me.)
   And here is the text of his op ed in  today's Washington Post
(2/24/07), which is the most sensible statement on the subject from any
of the presidential aspirants of either party that I have read.

*Diplomacy, Not War, With Iran*

By Bill Richardson
Saturday, February 24, 2007; A19

The recent tentative agreement
<http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/02/12/AR2007021200086.html>
with North Korea over its nuclear program illustrates how diplomacy can
work even with the most unsavory of regimes. Unfortunately, it took the
Bush administration more than six years to commit to diplomacy. During
that needless delay North Korea developed and tested
<http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/10/09/AR2006100900111.html>
nuclear weapons -- weapons its leaders still have not agreed to
dismantle. Had we engaged the North Koreans earlier, instead of calling
them "evil" and talking about "regime change," we might have prevented
them from going nuclear. We could have, and should have, negotiated a
better agreement, and sooner.

As the International Atomic Energy Agency just confirmed, Iran has once
again defied the international community and is moving forward with its
nuclear program, yet the Bush administration seems committed to
repeating the mistakes it made with North Korea. Rather than directly
engaging the Iranians about their nuclear program, President Bush
refuses to talk, except to make threats. He has moved ships to the
Persian Gulf region and claims, with scant evidence, that Iran is
helping Iraqi insurgents kill Americans. This is not a strategy for
peace. It is a strategy for war -- a war that Congress has not
authorized. Most of our allies, and most Americans, don't believe this
president, who has repeatedly cried wolf.

Saber-rattling is not a good way to get the Iranians to cooperate. But
it is a good way to start a new war -- a war that would be a disaster
for the Middle East, for the United States and for the world. A war
that, furthermore, would destroy what little remains of U.S. credibility
in the community of nations.

A better approach would be for the United States to engage directly with
the Iranians and to lead a global diplomatic offensive to prevent them
from building nuclear weapons. We need tough, direct negotiations, not
just with Iran but also with our allies, especially Russia, to get them
to support us in presenting Iran with credible carrots and sticks.

No nation has ever been forced to renounce nuclear weapons, but many
have chosen to do so. The Iranians will not end their nuclear program
because we threaten them and call them names. They will renounce nukes
because we convince them that they will be safer and more prosperous if
they do that than if they don't. This feat will take more than threats
and insults. It will take skillful American diplomatic leadership.

Diplomacy is more than just talking to people. It requires speaking
credibly from a position of strength. As the U.S. ambassador to the
United Nations, as energy secretary, as a member of Congress and as a
diplomatic envoy, I have always believed in and worked to achieve tough,
credible and direct negotiations with adversaries. To be tough, you need
strong alliances and a strong military. And to be credible, you need a
record of meaning what you say. By alienating our allies, overextending
our military, making idle threats and antagonizing just about everyone,
the Bush administration has undermined our diplomatic leverage.

We need to change course. Iran's nuclear program is a threat to peace,
but it also presents an opportunity to start rebuilding America's
credibility and leadership, which have been weakened by six years of
incompetence.

This is no time for chest-beating and dangerous brinkmanship. It is time
for alliance-building, direct engagement and tough face-to-face
negotiations. For the United States to attack Iran without exhausting
all diplomatic options would be a terrible mistake.

/The writer, a Democrat, is governor of New Mexico and a presidential
candidate./
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