Richard Perle offers advice to Obama

Nov. 17, 2008 at 8:42 PM

WASHINGTON, Nov. 17 (UPI) -- The next U.S. president may foster the development of an Iraqi state that, while not the model of Western democracy, is representative, Richard Perle said.

Richard Perle, a former U.S. assistant defense secretary and longtime proponent of regime change in Iraq, said in an interview with Foreign Policy magazine there are several areas the administration of President-elect Barack Obama may explore to define his foreign policy legacy.

Perle, now an outspoken critic of outgoing U.S. President George W. Bush, said he "never expected" Iraq to continue under U.S. occupation, but said the country was liberated nonetheless.

He cautioned, however, that the security situation may descend into a chaotic dictatorship once again, but gave promising words for the developing country.

I "think they've got a decent chance of establishing a representative government that isn't going to look like our system, or some other democratic systems," he said, "but if it's reasonably representative and humane, if the economy starts to develop -- yes. I think (Iraqis) will look back and say, we paid a terrible price, but it's worth it."

On the Iranian front, the former chairman of the Defense Department's advisory board said Obama may be too ambitious regarding the effects of diplomacy when dealing with the Iranian nuclear dilemma.

"I wouldn't take it at face value, but if Obama believes he can talk the Iranians out of their nuclear weapons program, and talk them out of their terrorist alliances, he's wrong," he said.

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