(Reuters) - Democrat Barack Obama and Republican Mike Huckabee, who won contests in Iowa on Thursday kicking off the nominating process for their parties’ presidential nominations, diverge on many issues related to U.S. foreign policy.
Here is an overview of some of those issues:
Obama: Would begin immediately withdrawing from Iraq one or two brigades a month and have all troops out within 16 months; wants to call a U.N.-led constitutional convention in Iraq that would not adjourn until reconciliation is reached.
Favors refocusing energies on the al Qaeda threat in Afghanistan and Pakistan — he has urged sending at least two more brigades to Afghanistan.
Huckabee: Opposes setting a timetable for withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq. Says he would be focused on “winning” the war and withdrawal would have strategic consequences for the United States and humanitarian consequences for Iraqis. Supports convening a regional summit for neighboring countries of Iraq to “become militarily and financially committed” to stabilizing the country.
Obama: Supports direct “presidential diplomacy” with Iran without preconditions. Says he would offer Iran incentives including membership in the World Trade Organization and a move toward normal diplomatic relations if Iran abandoned its nuclear program and support for terrorism.
Huckabee: Says he does not take the “military option” off the table with regards to Iran, but other options are required so that a military strike does not become inevitable. Supports increasing diplomatic efforts with China, India, Russia, South Korea and European countries to encourage them to put more economic pressure on Iran.
Obama: Says he would refocus energies on al Qaeda threat in Afghanistan and Pakistan; urges sending at least two more brigades to Afghanistan.
Ruled out using nuclear weapons against al Qaeda or Taliban targets in Afghanistan or Pakistan, prompting criticism for inexperience. But he supports strikes against al Qaeda targets in Pakistan if no cooperation from Islamabad.
Huckabee: Says the United States does not have enough troops in Afghanistan. Says U.S. troops are losing gains as foreign fighters come into the country and suicide bombings increase.
Says he would want to go after al Qaeda “safe havens” in Pakistan and believes the Bush administration has erred too much on the side of protecting President Pervez Musharraf.
Sources: candidates’ web sites, Foreign Affairs, Reuters
(Writing by Jeff Mason in Washington, editing by David Wiessler)
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