Thursday, June 05, 2008

Obama, McCain, Americans and Diplomacy

On June 4, Barack Obama told the audience at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee Annual Policy Conference that as President of the United States, “We will also use all elements of American power to pressure Iran. I will do everything in my power to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon. That starts with aggressive, principled diplomacy without self-defeating preconditions, but with a clear-eyed understanding of our interests.” He also said that he “will always keep the threat of military action on the table.”

John McCain told the audience at the AIPAC annual policy conference that diplomacy with Iran would only produce a “spectacle” and said, “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. [Laughs].” Instead of pursuing diplomacy without preconditions, McCain called for tougher sanctions and divestment instead.

However, a new CNN/Gallup poll conducted May 19-21 and released on June 2 found that majority of Americans favor diplomacy.

According to the poll’s findings, “Large majorities of Democrats and independents, and even about half of Republicans, believe the president of the United States should meet with the leaders of countries that are considered enemies of the United States. Overall, 67% of Americans say this kind of diplomacy is a good idea. Although separate Gallup polling shows that few Americans view Iran favorably, and that Iran leads Americans' list of top U.S. enemies in the world, the new Gallup survey also finds high public support for presidential-level meetings between the United States and Iran, specifically. About 6 in 10 Americans (59%) think it would be a good idea for the president of the United States to meet with the president of Iran. This includes about half of Republicans, a majority of independents, and most Democrats.”

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