If a presidential candidate speaks in Israel to a conservative group it is natural they will use hawkish rhetoric. But did Edwards go too far?
Edwards will face increased scrutiny at home and possible loss of support from liberals for the unmitigated pro-Israeli, anti-Arab hawkishness of the views he offered. Not only on Iran but on Syria, Palestine, and Lebanon, Edwards offered support for the most hawkish Israeli politicians and policies.
Is this simply foreign policy inexperience showing? Unlike in Bush's case, this seems to me to be more likely purely campaign rhetoric.
Raw Story has more regarding Iran:
Although Edwards has criticized the war in Iraq, and has urged bringing the troops home, the former senator firmly declared that "all options must remain on the table," in regards to dealing with Iran, whose nuclear ambition "threatens the security of Israel and the entire world."Full transcript is here, but with errors, which has some better news:
"Let me be clear: Under no circumstances can Iran be allowed to have nuclear weapons," Edwards said. "For years, the US hasn’t done enough to deal with what I have seen as a threat from Iran. As my country stayed on the sidelines, these problems got worse."
Edwards continued, "To a large extent, the US abdicated its responsibility to the Europeans. This was a mistake. The Iranian president’s statements such as his description of the Holocaust as a myth and his goals to wipe Israel off the map indicate that Iran is serious about its threats."
"Once Iran goes nuclear, other countries in the Middle East will go nuclear, making Israel’s neighborhood much more volatile," Edwards said.
Edwards added, "Iran must know that the world won’t back down. The recent UN resolution ordering Iran to halt the enrichment of uranium was not enough. We need meaningful political and economic sanctions. We have muddled along for far too long. To ensure that Iran never gets nuclear weapons, we need to keep ALL options on the table, Let me reiterate – ALL options must remain on the table."
For example, we need to support direct engagement with Iranians. We need to be tough but I think it is a mistake strategically to avoid engagement with Iran.