Adm. Mike Mullen: I support diplomacy in Iran; Iraq needs to stand up a government
Admiral Mike Mullen, chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, discusses diplomacy in Iran, Iraq's unstable government, and China's military buildup.
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I am big supporter of diplomacy in Iran
The notion has been floated that some people in the Obama administration feel that Israeli policy toward the Palestinians somehow undermines US national security. Do you feel that Israeli policy is a threat to your men and women in uniform in places like Afghanistan?
Adm. Mullen: No, I don’t.
On Iran, I have spoken very clearly for a long time about the consequences and unintended consequences of Iran obtaining nuclear weapons capability and the threat that presents. On the other side, if there were a strike (against them), I worry as much about those unintended consequences as I do about those that we could figure out going in.
So, I am a big supporter of the (approach of) diplomacy-dialogue-sanctions and international pressure.
Iran is in a part of the world that is not very stable. And to continue on the path that I believe they are on, which is to achieve nuclear weapons capability on the one hand, or (provoke) some kind of strike on the other, would result in significant conflict.
The consequences, known and unknown, are extremely serious.
So, that speaks to both the importance and the priority of reaching a conclusion where Iran figures out it is not in their interest to have a nuclear weapon. It is in their best long-term interest to not have that capability. To achieve that state without a strike is optimal. Is it doable? That question is still out there.
Iraqis need to stand up this government
Question: What is your assessment of the inability of the Iraqis to put together a workable government?
Mullen: Well, I’m increasingly concerned about their inability to stand up this government. From a security standpoint, all that I see is still tracking. But the politics there are, from my perspective, too slow, and they need to stand this government up.