Saul Singer at PostGlobal

Saul Singer

Jerusalem, Israel

Saul Singer, a columnist and former editorial page editor at the Jerusalem Post, is co-author of the forthcoming book, Start-Up Nation: The Story of Israel's Economic Miracle. He has also written for the Wall Street Journal, Commentary, Middle East Quarterly, Moment, the New Leader, and (an Israeli/Palestinian e-zine). Before moving to Israel in 1994, he served as an adviser in the United States Congress to the House Foreign Affairs and Senate Banking Committees. He is also on Twitter. Close.

Saul Singer

Jerusalem, Israel

Saul Singer is a columnist and former editorial page editor at the Jerusalem Post. more »

Main Page | Saul Singer Archives | PostGlobal Archives

« Previous Post | Next Post »

Iran's Nuclear Ambitions Will Challenge An Obama White House

The Current Discussion: In their campaign, should Barack Obama and running mate Joseph Biden advocate a clean break in U.S. foreign policy, or should they rely on continuity and experience?

The Democrats should not be aiming for continuity or a clean break in American foreign policy but for a third option: synthesis.

If Obama wins, he will be the first Democratic president since 9/11. This would mean that he and Biden would have to forge their own post-9/11 foreign policy, rather than just complain about what Bush has done. The question is, what should a Democratic post-9/11 policy look like?

There are two main directions this could go -- more of the same or a new, more effective synthesis.

A more of the same policy would muddle through Iraq, muddle through chasing Bin Laden, muddle through the Iranian challenge -- in short, wait for the next major crisis to force the new president's hand.

An effective synthesis policy would combine the basic goal of the Bush policy -- which was to defeat pro-terrorism regimes in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, and Iran -- with more effective means, such as mobilizing the international community.

While the situations in Afghanistan and Iraq continue to be challenging, the major item of unfinished business is Iran. If Iran is allowed to go nuclear, the next president will spend four years dealing with the consequences, such as a nuclear arms race in the Middle East, rising oil prices, increasing terrorism, and the total collapse of the Arab-Israeli peace process.

Accordingly, the key question for the Democrats will be, can they do a better job of forcing Iran to abandon its nuclear program than did George Bush? I believe the answer is yes, if Obama decides that the success of his presidency turns on this question. A determined Obama White House could convince Europe to join in draconian sanctions against Tehran, backed with a credible military option, that could force Iran to back down.

We are not used to thinking of Democrats and liberals being "hawks" on the need to confront evil. Lately, the only "evil" that they can fire themselves up to confront is George Bush. If Obama wins, though, there will be no wishing away the evil in the world that threatens free people, a new form of totalitarianism no less virulent than those that made the last century the bloodiest in history. For the sake of America and the world, the Democrats must rise above partisanship and squarely face this challenge.

Please e-mail PostGlobal if you'd like to receive an email notification when PostGlobal sends out a new question.

Email This Post to a Friend | | Digg | Facebook | Email the Author

Reader Response

PostGlobal is an interactive conversation on global issues moderated by Newsweek International Editor Fareed Zakaria and David Ignatius of The Washington Post. It is produced jointly by Newsweek and, as is On Faith, a conversation on religion. Please send us your comments, questions and suggestions.