Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama on Friday blamed Bush administration failings in Iraq. The Illinois senator proposed “direct engagement” with Iran similar to the meetings with the Soviet Union at the height of the Cold War, an AP report said.
“One of the most profound consequences of the administration’s failed strategy in Iraq has been to strengthen Iran’s strategic position; reduce US credibility and influence in the region; and place Israel and other nations friendly to the United States in greater peril,” Obama told the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, the pro-Israel lobbying group.
The Bush administration recently altered its position, with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice saying this week that the US is willing to talk to Iran on security in Iraq. Obama also emphasized in his speech his commitment to protecting the security of Israel, which he called “our strongest ally in the region and its only established democracy.”
“Our job is to renew the United States’ efforts to … help Israel achieve peace with its neighbors while remaining vigilant against those who do not share that vision,” Obama said.
The speech was the second time in recent months that Obama has formally addressed foreign policy in his hometown of Chicago. In November, Obama called for a reduction of US forces in Iraq at the Chicago Council on Global Affairs.