Former Vice President Dick Cheney said Sunday that negotiations with Iranian leaders about their country's nuclear program will fail unless there is a threat of military action by the United States.
"I have trouble seeing how we're going to achieve our objective short of that," Cheney said on ABC's "This Week," after being asked if military action was likely. "I don't have a lot of confidence in the administration to be able to negotiate an agreement. I talked to my friends in that part of the region. They're very fearful that the whole Iranian exercise is going to go the same way as the Syrian exercise, that is, they'll be bold talk from the administration, but in the final analysis, nothing effective will be done about the Iranian program."
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Cheney said if President George W. Bush had acted with force to take out Syria's nuclear reactor the way the Israelis did in 2007 "we would have sent a clear signal about proliferation."
"We would have given substance and meaning to our diplomacy," Cheney said. "The Iranians would have to look and that and say, 'These guys are serious about it, they mean business,' and we'd be much more effective today negotiating with the Iranians if we'd taken out that Syrian reactor seven years ago."
On the issue of the National Security Agency's intelligence-collecting programs, the Republican said he is all for them.
"It's nothing new," Cheney said. "It's something that we've been involved in for a long time. Our overall intelligence capabilities are important to the security of this nation and need to be preserved."
When asked about the future of his party, he said its salvation will come from a new generation of politicians.
"We got whipped," he said of the 2012 election. "A lot of us thought we were going to pull it out, and that didn’t happen, and we clearly need to spend time and effort on building the base, building the party. There's a lot of work to be done, no question about it.
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"It's healthy for the party to be brought up short and say, 'OK, now it's time to go to work,'" Cheney continued. "I feel very strongly about it's time to get a new generation involved."
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