John McCain declared that as president, he would refuse to talk with Iran as long as that nation continues its nuclear weapons program.
In an interview with the German magazine Der Spiegel, McCain said: “I think we have to punish Iran to force them to abandon their current course.”
Asked if he would be willing to talk to Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the Republican candidate answered:
“As long as Iran continues to announce its dedication to making the state of Israel extinct and as long as the country continues to pursue the use of nuclear weapons, I will continue to say that is not an acceptable situation. I will work with other democracies in order to find incentives and punishments for the Iranians.”
Questioned about Democrats Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton’s call for the U.S. to withdraw troops from Iraq as soon as possible, McCain stated:
“Senator Clinton and Senator Obama will withdraw our forces from Iraq based on an arbitrary timetable designed for the sake of political expediency and which recklessly ignores the profound human calamity and dire threats to our security that would ensue.
“They will not recognize and seriously address the threat posed by an Iran with nuclear ambitions against our ally, Israel, and the entire region…”
“I intend to win the war.”
Other highlights of the Spiegel interview:
Spiegel: “Will America attempt to go it alone less frequently in the future?”
McCain: “Well, we all hope that America will be multilateral again in the future. There were times when the United States acted unilaterally, but I think we would all prefer to work in concert with our friends and allies.”
Spiegel: “To what extent do your experiences from [Vietnam] continue to influence your life today?”
McCain: “Well, obviously it was a very impactful period of my life, but my views have been shaped by my experiences and knowledge and background on national issues, of which my experience in Vietnam is just one part.
“But there are many lessons to be taken from the Vietnam War, including the Powell Doctrine, which states that if you are going to enter into a conflict, you go in with overwhelming force and get it done as quickly as possible. One of our mistakes in Iraq is that we never had enough troops to control the country after the initial military victory.”
Spiegel: “So, do you consider yourself to be a candidate without weaknesses?”
McCain: “I am a man of many failings. I make no bones about it. That is why I am such a believer in forgiveness and redemption. I have done many, many things wrong in my life. The key is to try to improve.”
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