Obama to Face Big Policy Decisions on Iran, N. Korea and Mideast

Stay on Bush path or chart a new course?

By Glenn Kessler
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, November 8, 2008; Page A04

President-elect Barack Obama stepped carefully yesterday when he was asked about the unusual letter of congratulations that Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad sent him — the first time an Iranian leader has congratulated the victor of a U.S. presidential election since the 1979 Islamic revolution.

“I will be reviewing the letter from President Ahmadinejad, and we will respond appropriately,” he said, leaving open the question about whether he will reply. President Bush chose not to respond to a rambling 18-page letter he received from Ahmadinejad in 2006, but during the campaign Obama indicated he would be willing to meet with Iranian leaders.

“Iran’s development of a nuclear weapon, I believe, is unacceptable,” Obama said yesterday. “And we have to mount an international effort to prevent that from happening.”

Diplomatic issues rarely begin or end cleanly with a change of administrations, but Bush will be leaving his successor an extensive list of foreign policy processes. The new administration will have to quickly evaluate them and decide whether to continue along Bush’s path, make minor modifications or forge ahead in a different direction. Obama will inherit at least three foreign policy structures, built largely by Bush and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, aimed at thwarting Iran’s development of a nuclear weapon, eliminating North Korea’s nuclear arsenal and promoting Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.

During the campaign, Obama issued a series of foreign policy pronouncements that often appeared designed not to box himself in. One prominent exception was a pledge to remove most U.S. combat troops from Iraq within 16 months of his inauguration. But in many cases, Obama appears to have left himself wiggle room on many issues that will confront him. During the campaign, in fact, internal briefing materials purposely focused on defining the challenges facing the next president, but did not detail possible policy options, advisers said.

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One Response to “Obama to Face Big Policy Decisions on Iran, N. Korea and Mideast”

  1. tommy49646 Says:

    Lets Give Our New President Elect a Chance.

    Most people who voted for Obama had no idea who he was or what he was. I guess the media did a good job selling him. McCain, although he is a good man, wasn’t picked by republicans to run. He was picked by Democrat crossover voters in states who allow non party members to vote under any ticket they want. After they did that they went back to their Democrat home. McCain is no conservative. He doesn’t seem to realize that when a republican walks across the aisle to work with Democrats they break your leg. If you reach across the aisle they break your arm. Their idea of bi-partisanship is simple. You give up your principals and do what we want. Coming together to them means that you compromise your ideas and accept theirs.

    The biggest danger, even if Republicans regain control of congress in two years, will be all the judicial appointments that will be made in that time. I only hope that they will be unable to stack the supreme court with liberal appointments. FDR had 20 years to stack the court and it took a lifetime to turn it around.

    Of course we must not be too cruel to our new president. We should not call him a liar.

    We should not call him a liar when he said he wanted to bankrupt the coal industry.

    We should not call him a liar when he said utility bills would skyrocket because of the coal industry being regulated and taxed to death.

    We should not call him a liar when he said he wanted to redistribute the wealth.

    We should not call him a liar when he said he wanted to replace the military with a civillian force.

    We should not call him a liar when he said he wanted to meet with Iran without preconditions.

    We should not call him a liar when he said he wanted to invade Pakistan.

    We should not call Biden a liar when he said that supreme court appointments should be made based more on the nominees philosophical views than on their judicial temperment. Can you say litmus test?

    Hold onto your money belt we are in for a five ticket ride.

    I could go on and on but I think you get the point.

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