Republican Richard Lugar endorses Obama
Obama’s ‘Diplomacy’ Wins a Republican Endorsement
The ranking Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee parted ways with his party’s presidential nominee Wednesday by endorsing Democrat Barack Obama ’s approach to diplomacy.
In a lengthy speech at the National Defense University, Indiana Sen. Richard G. Lugar weighed the benefits of talking to foreign leaders, including U.S. enemies, against other actions, such as military force. The issue marks one of the sharpest divides between Obama and John McCain , who has called the Democratic nominee naive for suggesting that he would sit down with leaders such as Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
Lugar, however, praised Obama, noting that isolation often does not resolve contentious issues.
“He correctly cautions against the implication that hostile nations must be dealt with almost exclusively through isolation or military force,” Lugar said in a prepared remarks released before his speech. “In some cases, refusing to talk can even be dangerous.”
Lugar, however, said McCain is right to warn that “there are times when diplomatic approaches to rogue regimes have little efficacy.” But he cited North Korea, which was just removed from the U.S. list of state sponsors of terror, as a diplomatic success story and urged more contact with Syria and Iran.
This is not the first time Lugar and Obama have seen eye-to-eye on foreign policy issues. Lugar noted back in July that he was “pleased” to have worked with Obama on nuclear proliferation issues after an Obama ad ran mentioning Lugar by name.
Lugar also used his speech to underscore his concern that U.S. foreign policy has become too reactive.
“If most U.S. foreign policy attention is devoted to crises fomented by hostile regimes, we are ceding the initiative to our enemies and reducing our capacity to lead the world in ways that are more likely to affect our future,” Lugar said.