Saturday, June 14, 2008

Coercive Diplomacy Disputed at Centrist Meet

By Gareth Porter

"The assumption that the US should exploit its military dominance to exert pressure on adversaries has long dominated the thinking of the US national security and political elite in the past. But this central tenet of conventional security doctrine was sharply rejected this week by a senior practitioner of crisis diplomacy at the debut of a major new centrist foreign policy think tank.

At the first conference of the Center for a New American Security (CNAS), Ambassador James Dobbins, who was the Bill Clinton administration's special envoy for Somalia, Haiti, Bosnia and Kosovo and the George W. Bush administration's first special envoy to Afghanistan, sharply rejected the well-established concept of coercive diplomacy.......

The idea that diplomatic negotiations with Iran over its nuclear program must be backed by the threat of war is so deeply entrenched in Washington that endorsement of it seems to have become a criterion for any candidate being taken seriously by the national security community.

Thus all three top Democratic hopefuls supported it during their primary fight for the Democratic nomination.

Addressing the American Israel Public Affairs Committee convention in early 2007, Clinton said that, in dealing with the possibility of an Iranian nuclear capability, "no option can be taken off the table." Obama and Edwards also explicitly refused to rule out the use of force against Iran if it refused to accept US demands to end its uranium enrichment program."

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