(CNN) - Five former Secretaries of State from both parties told CNN Monday the Bush administration’s hard-line approach on Iran needs to be abandoned by the next president – with one GOP foreign policy heavyweight calling the current White House position “ridiculous.”
"I would advise the president to fully engage with Syria," former George H.W. Bush Secretary of State James Baker said at a George Washington University forum co-sponsored by CNN. “I think it's ridiculous for us to say we're not going to talk to Syria, and yet the Israelis have been negotiating peace with them for the last six or eight months.”
Watch Colin Powell on the presidential race
(Powell's full comments will air on “The Next President: A World of Challenges” this Saturday night at 9pm ET and again Sunday at 2pm ET.)
Baker, who has endorsed John McCain’s presidential bid, appeared with former Clinton Secretaries of State Madeleine Albright and Warren Christopher, Henry Kissinger, who served under Nixon and Ford, and former Bush Secretary of State Colin Powell. Albright has been an active supporter of Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama.
As the former diplomats urged a cautious approach in the conflict between Russia and Georgia, Powell seemed to take a swipe at John McCain’s tough criticism of Moscow.
“Some debate in the presidential elections has basically been, ‘We are all Georgians now,’” said CNN correspondent Christiane Amanpour. “What does that mean? It's the same as was said after 9/11.”
Responded Powell, “One candidate said that, and I'll let the candidate explain it for himself.” Pressed to explain his response, the retired general said the crisis called for caution.
“The fact of the matter is that you have to be very careful in a situation like this not just to leap to one side or the other until you take a good analysis of the whole situation….
“The Russian Federation is not going to become the Soviet Union again. That movie failed at the box office. But they do have interests. And we have to think carefully about their interests.”
Powell, who has not yet decided which candidate to back in this year’s presidential race, said Monday the election of an African-American president “would be electrifying,” Powell told a George Washington University audience, “but at the same time [I have to] make a judgment here on which would be best for America.
“I have been watching both individuals, I know them both extremely well, and I have not decided who I am going to vote for. And I'm interested to see what the debates are going to be like because we have to get off of this ‘lipstick on a pig’ stuff and get into issues,” he said
Mccain is a warmonger just like the Bush's I agree with the former secratries we need to be caustious by what mccain have said we are all georgians now what does it mean?. He has not studied who started the confilict before he made a conclusion very dangerous old man,
If people like Baker know that McCain's foreign policy is even worser than Bush's then why in the heck are they supporting him. IT DOES NOT MAKE ANY SENSE!!!
Everybody in their right mind believes diplomacy should be the connerstone of a good foriegn policy and not the fact that you can see russia from your house..
Now isreal is talking to syria and the bush administration is in some talks with iran.
Is it not common sense? McCain/Palin is so 18th century.....war mongers
Why is Colin Powell having such a dilema choosing a candidate to support? His obvious choice would be McCain so if he can't commit to McCain, he is in favor of Obama. Now was that so hard to say Colin?
Baker is right about Bush but I don't think he is going to find a big difference in McCain. Obama has already shown he is willing to deal with these nations and he has gotten nothing but foaming-from-the-mouth rhetoric from the right wingers.
It's documented: Obama's game of choice is poker, while McCain's is high-stakes craps. Which do you want handling foreign policy?
The United States should always have a foreign policy that supports and maintains direct and open talks with all foreign governments and nations, even those hostile to the United States. Never is there any healing without confession that is also coupled with mutual respect and understanding of all positions concerning an issue. Let's act like grown, educated adults instead of spoiled, egotistical brats!
Sounds like what Obama has been saying for 4 years now. Obama a man ahead of his time.
Obama/ Biden '08
So Baker believes that the Bush administrations hard-line approach on Iran needs to be abandoned by the next President, but yet he is planning on voting for McCain who we know won't drop it. Yeah ... that makes sense. *Rolls eyes*
McCain and Palins idea of talking is down the barrel of an AK-47. OBAMA/BIDEN 08!
I don't blame him for waiting until the debates. Too many distractions have been happening te past couple of weeks. I think his decision will have a significant impact on most of the voters.
Colin backs Obama the truth will shine in the end!
I find it amazing that with each new day, another heavy-hitting policy wonk, or foreign policy expert seems to back up what Barack Obama has been saying all along... Simply amazing.
It is so good to see serious issues being discussed (and reported on!).
While no one came out and specifically said it, it seems that they all agree that John McCain's foreign policy positions are foolish.
hmmm.....Do you think the recent stock market collapse or troubles in the banking system are good news?
Well, according to CNN's Candy Crowley, the Obama campaign does.
On Monday's "Anderson Cooper 360," after CNN senior political analyst David Gergen said "what happened over the weekend with the economy and the bottom falling out of the financial markets...is the opportunity for Obama to seize the momentum back on his side," Crowley actually said, "[J]ust as foreclosures were showing up on B-17, or in the real estate section, along comes this horrific headline out of Wall Street...I mean, this is what they wanted."
I kid you not. The transcript of this disgraceful exchange follows (video embedded right, h/t Steve Malzberg):
Thank you secretaries of state and CNN. It is about time we talked about issues that matter.
The republican ticket is pathetic..!!!!!
HUGE RED FLAG! If almost all of our country's top political and economic advisors are warning America that we cannot continue the same path George Bush has been on, We need to change!
If you believe McCain will take a different path – after voting with Bush over 90% of the time, AND admitting that he knows nothing about the economy, you are not only throwing your life savings away, you can count on the US being in war or at risk for war for many years to come.
There is just too much at stake to throw your vote, your life savings, and our national security away.
This time – We Won't Get Fooled Again!
Out of touch on the economy ..out of touch on foreign policy ..what is he in touch on ? Oh yah Smear politics even independants can see this clearly
Cummon' Mr. Powell-
Imagine the respect you'd gain for growing a pair, and making the right endorsement for our country!
Obama is the clear choice, a guy of your stature & intelligence knows this!
Obama has been saying this for months and he was called naive. Time and time again Obama has shown good judgment.
After listening to the entire program this weekend, I bet the Obama campaign will have a lot of ammunition saying how these experienced individuals agree with his policies and NOT with McCain's. Go Obama/Biden!!
These five senior statesmen are saying: 1) Obama's and Biden's judgment and diplomatic approach are prudent and correct, and 2) McCain's and Palin's experience and belligerent statements are risky and wrong.
So the three reasons to elect Obama/Biden are: 1) better foreign policy, 2) better solutions for the economy, and 3) NO THIRD TERM for the failed Bush/Cheney/McCain/Palin policies.
McCain will only continue the Bush Policies and take us to more economic troubles. Palin is Bush with Lipstick.
Again and again, Obama is right!