From CBS News' John Bentley:
Just as the "appeasement" controversy was dying down, John McCain and Barack Obama are once again sniping at each other over foreign policy. McCain said today that Obama is showing his "inexperience" and "reckless judgment" with remarks he made this morning about negotiating with Iran.
"Strong countries and strong presidents talk to their adversaries," Obama said today, a sentiment he has recently been adding to his stump speeches. "That's what Kennedy did with Khrushchev. That's what Reagan did with Gorbachev. That's what Nixon did with Mao. I mean, think about it. Iran, Cuba, Venezuela – these countries are tiny compared to the Soviet Union. They don't pose a serious threat to us the way the Soviet Union posed a threat to us."
McCain took exception to Obama's characterization of Iran. "Iran provides some of the deadliest explosive devices used in Iraq to kill our soldiers. They are the chief sponsor of Shia extremists in Iraq, and terrorist organizations in the Middle East," McCain said. "They might not be a superpower, but the threat the government of Iran poses is anything but 'tiny.'"
Obama countered that Iran spends only "one-one hundredth" of what the U.S. spends on the military, and that they do not represent a serious threat to American security. "We should use that position of strength that we have to be bold enough to go ahead and listen," Obama said. "We might not compromise on any issues, but at least we should find out other areas of potential common interest, and we can reduce some of the tensions that has caused us so many problems around the world."
A meeting with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad would give the regime credit they do not deserve, according to McCain, and would not serve American interests. "It is likely such a meeting would not only fail to persuade him to abandon Iran's nuclear ambitions, its support of terrorists and commitment to Israel's extinction, it could very well convince him that those policies are succeeding in strengthening his hold on power, and embolden him to continue his very dangerous behavior," McCain said. "The next president ought to understand such basic realities of international relations."