From NBC's Domenico Montanaro
As promised, here are some key excerpts in Obama's just-published article in Foreign Affairs.
"We must first bring the Iraq war to a responsible end and refocus our attention on the broader Middle East... The best chance we have to leave Iraq a better place is to pressure these warring parties to find a lasting political solution. And the only effective way to apply this pressure is to begin a phased withdrawal of U.S. forces, with the goal of removing all combat brigades from Iraq by March 31, 2008... This redeployment could be temporarily suspended if the Iraqi government meets the security, political, and economic benchmarks to which it has committed."
"[W]e must launch a comprehensive regional and international diplomatic initiative to help broker an end to the civil war in Iraq... To gain credibility in this effort, we must make clear that we seek no permanent bases in Iraq. We should leave behind only a minimal over-the-horizon military force in the region."
On the Israeli-Palestinian conflict:
"Changing the dynamic in Iraq will allow us to focus our attention and influence on resolving the festering conflict between the Israelis and the Palestinians... Our starting point must always be a clear and strong commitment to the security of Israel... [W]e must strive to secure a lasting settlement of the conflict... Sustained American leadership for peace and security will require patient effort and the personal commitment of the president of the United States."
"[W]e must harness American power to reinvigorate American diplomacy. Tough-minded diplomacy, backed by the whole range of instruments of American power -- political, economic, and military -- could bring success even when dealing with long-standing adversaries such as Iran and Syria."
On Iran and North Korea:
"[W]e should not hesitate to talk directly to Iran."
"[W]e must develop a strong international coalition to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons and eliminate North Korea's nuclear weapons program... I will not take the military option off the table."
"Diplomacy combined with pressure could also reorient Syria away from its radical agenda to a more moderate stance -- which could, in turn, help stabilize Iraq, isolate Iran, free Lebanon from Damascus' grip, and better secure Israel."
On the military:
"[W]e must immediately begin working to revitalize our military... We should expand our ground forces by adding 65,000 soldiers to the army and 27,000 marines."
On the use of force:
"I will clearly define the mission… I will not hesitate to use force, unilaterally if necessary, to protect the American people or our vital interests whenever we are attacked or imminently threatened… We must also consider using military force in circumstances beyond self-defense ... to support friends, participate in stability and reconstruction operations, or confront mass atrocities."
On nuclear proliferation:
"America must lead a global effort to secure all nuclear weapons and material at vulnerable sites within four years... This will require the active cooperation of Russia... We must also work with Russia to update and scale back our dangerously outdated Cold War nuclear postures and de-emphasize the role of nuclear weapons. America must not rush to produce a new generation of nuclear warheads. And we should take advantage of recent technological advances to build bipartisan consensus behind ratification of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty... I will work to negotiate a verifiable global ban on the production of new nuclear weapons material."
"We must refocus our efforts on Afghanistan and Pakistan -- the central front in our war against al Qaeda... [W]e need to invest with our allies in strengthening weak states and helping to rebuild failed ones."
"I will join with our allies in insisting -- not simply requesting -- that Pakistan crack down on the Taliban, pursue Osama bin Laden and his lieutenants, and end its relationship with all terrorist groups."
On the UN:
"[T]he United Nations requires far-reaching reform... Yet none of these problems will be solved unless America rededicates itself to the organization and its mission."
On climate change:
"… I intend to enact a cap-and-trade system that will dramatically reduce our carbon emissions... I will invest in efficient and clean technologies at home while using our assistance policies and export promotions to help developing countries leapfrog the carbon-energy-intensive stage of development. We need a global response to climate change that includes binding and enforceable commitments to reducing emissions, especially for those that pollute the most: the United States, China, India, the European Union, and Russia."
On Guantanamo and secret prisons:
"[W]e must first behave in ways that reflect the decency and aspirations of the American people. This means ending the practices of shipping away prisoners in the dead of night to be tortured in far-off countries, of detaining thousands without charge or trial, of maintaining a network of secret prisons to jail people beyond the reach of the law."
On global poverty:
"[T]he United States has a direct national security interest in dramatically reducing global poverty and joining with our allies in sharing more of our riches to help those most in need…. I will double our annual investment in meeting these challenges to $50 billion by 2012... I will capitalize a $2 billion Global Education Fund that will bring the world together in eliminating the global education deficit."