While defending his administration’s framework for a nuclear deal with Iran, President Barack Obama spoke to the New York Times about his so-called “Obama doctrine,” the principle that guides his foreign policy in the Middle East and Cuba, where the U.S. recently relaxed long-standing travel restrictions, reports the Huffington Post.
The U.S. is powerful enough to test certain foreign policy proposals without threatening the safety of the nation or its allies, the president said in an interview with New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman published Sunday.
The Huffington Post reports:
“You take a country like Cuba. For us to test the possibility that engagement leads to a better outcome for the Cuban people, there aren’t that many risks for us. It’s a tiny little country. It’s not one that threatens our core security interests, and so [there’s no reason not] to test the proposition. And if it turns out that it doesn’t lead to better outcomes, we can adjust our policies,” he said.
The president added, “The same is true with respect to Iran, a larger country, a dangerous country, one that has engaged in activities that resulted in the death of U.S. citizens, but the truth of the matter is: Iran’s defense budget is $30 billion. Our defense budget is closer to $600 billion. Iran understands that they cannot fight us. … You asked about an Obama doctrine. The doctrine is: We will engage, but we preserve all our capabilities.”
With respect to steps Congress may take in curtailing or possibly unraveling the deal with Iran — which could take place under a bill proposed by Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chair Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) — Obama said he hopes “we can find something that allows Congress to express itself but does not encroach on traditional presidential prerogatives — and ensures that, if in fact we get a good deal, that we can go ahead and implement it.”
President Obama essentially called the Iran deal a once in a lifetime opportunity. What do you think? Do you agree? Sound off in the comments.
Read the complete interview with The Times here.