I sent the following to my one Senator (Webb) who is open for business and is not so busy pinching himself over his electoral landslide that he is unprepared to do is new job (Warner):
During the confirmation process of Secretary State designate Clinton, I expect that you will press her for policy details on President-elect’s recent statements regarding Iran.
How is this ‘new approach’ any different from the failed rapprochement policy of the Clinton Administration? Or the Reagan Administration?
What happens when this retread policy fails yet again?
Is the new Administration ignoring the lessons of the failings of prior Administrations?
After about 30 years of bipartisan policy failures, Iran has become a growing threat to our vital national interests. The Bush Administration came into office without a strategy towards Iran and essentially leaves office without such a strategy. Virginia can not afford for our Senators to be asleep at the switch on this issue; the incoming Administration has some explaining to do and now is the time for it to do so.
Frankly, confirmation on this Secretary of State nominee should be held until the Senate receives a substantial Iran policy from the incoming Administration.
Update 1/13/2009: The New York Times published questions that experts thought should be asked of Secretary of State designate Clinton. The following were the questions related to Iran:
Michael Sandel, a professor of government at Harvard: “In the Middle East, we see a paradox: Countries with pro-American governments like Egypt, Jordan and Saudi Arabia have populations with high levels of anti-American sentiment. Meanwhile in Iran, whose government is hostile to the United States, public opinion of America is more favorable. How do you explain this, and what can we learn from it? Should the United States disentangle itself from autocratic regimes in Saudi Arabia and Egypt?”
Walter Russell Mead, the author of “God and Gold: Britain, America and the Making of the Modern World” and a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations: “Which is worse for the United States, an Iran with nuclear weapons or a military confrontation between the United States and Iran?”
Lee Hamilton, vice chairman of the 9/11 commission and president and director of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars: “Negotiations over North Korea’s nuclear program, Iran’s nuclear program and Arab-Israeli peace are at a standstill. How will you revitalize these negotiations and what are your immediate priorities in these areas?”