P.G. Sittenfeld on War & Peace



Keep the conversation going with ISIS, including nukes

Q: What about Iran & ISIS?

A: Iran is very much in the news; you all might expect somebody like Rob Portman to exercise thoughtful, sensible leadership, but we saw anything but that when he signed on to Tom Cotton's letter to the leaders of Iran [taking a hard line against nuclear development and against President Obama's nuclear deal]. So much of this is about judgement -- not about whether you're in your early 30s or 75, or whether you've been in Washington for a quarter of a century.

Q: We're not talking about age as much as about experience. How would you prepare for issues like Iran and ISIS, and for issues that you have not faced?

A: The same way that you all would: you study; you talk to experts; you think things through; you engage stakeholders; you listen to your constituents. For something like Iran, how I would actually approach that, the current framework lets us continue the conversation.

Source: OTI transcript of Cincinnati Enquirer: 2016 Ohio Senate race , May 12, 2015

Trust but verify with Iran; the alternative is war

Q: Talk about how you'll prepare for global decision-making: ISIS, Iran, Israel?

A: There are three big things that we need to be looking for: (and this is a glimpse into my judgement and how I would approach something):

  1. Relative to the sanctions, do they go away as soon as the deal is inked, or do they go away once we see that the Iranians have done what they said they'd do? In the event of a violation of the deal, do the sanctions automatically snap back in, or not? That's what I'd be looking for.
  2. Do we have a comprehensive and effective system for inspections? Ronald Reagan said "Trust but verify." We need to make sure that comes out of the deal.

    We should ask 'what are the alternatives?' We have three possibilities: sanctions; war; or walk away. I don't think Rob Portman has thought about those alternatives. The last time we walked away, Iran went from 3,000 centrifuges to about 17,000.

Source: OTI transcript of Cincinnati Enquirer: 2016 Ohio Senate race , May 12, 2015

Supports targeted airstrikes against ISIS

Q: What should we be doing about ISIS?

A: There is evil in the world, and ISIS is perpetuating a lot of it. I look with the same horror when they videotape beheadings and other brutal acts of violence -- I share that horror and I understand he natural reaction of people saying, 'We need to do something about this.' But it's also important to be mindful of the fact that ISIS wants to goad America. They want to goad us into a certain course of action, part of which is putting ground troops into the region. The reality is that ISIS is a serious threat, but they are a much more immediate threat to some of our allies in the region -- Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Jordan. So I support the current policy of targeted airstrikes, but in terms of boots on the ground, those need to be supplied by some of our allies, by our friends in the Muslim world.

Source: OTI transcript of Cincinnati Enquirer: 2016 Ohio Senate race , May 12, 2015

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