Connecticut Senator Christopher Dodd says the Bush Administration should renew one-on-one talks with Iran and Syria.
Dodd, a Democratic presidential candidate, delivered a foreign policy address at Drake University Friday. Dodd told the crowd he doesn’t understand President Bush’s unwillingness to open negotiations with two countries that could help stabilize Iraq. According to Dodd, past presidents set aside their ideological differences and sat down face-to-face to talk with their enemies.
"Ronald Reagan called them the ‘Evil Empire’ and yet would meet in Reykjavik on arms control issues. Richard Nixon was as outspoken anticommunist as anyone in the 20th century and yet was sitting down with Mao Tse-tung," Dodd said. "Responsible leaders understand that negotiations are something you do with people you have a problem with."
Dodd said the U.S. has become too isolated internationally under the Bush Administration. "Terrorism is a problem, but we’ll never solve the issue of terrorism alone," Dodd said. "This is an issue that requires multinational, international cooperation in the coming decades or we’re going to lose our ability to deal with this."
John Olsen, a Democrat from Ankeny who was in the crowd at Drake, says Dodd’s tenure on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee shows. "Ironically it seems to me that what theywould consider the second-tier candidates — Dodd, Biden and Richardson — all seem to have extensive knowledge and experience in foreign relations," Olsen said. "Why are they second-tier candidates? Why are people not listening to them?"
Carol Lind, a Democrat from Des Moines, agreed that Dodd is competent, but she worries he’s not electable. "He knew what he was talking about," Lind said. "I would think of his really seriously, but he’s so low down, I don’t think he has a chance. I hope the other candidates are listening to him, anyway, because I think he can help a lot."
Most public opinion polls in Iowa show Dodd trailing better-known candidates John Edwards, Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama.