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Rep. Carol Shea-Porter on U.S. Foreign Policy Issues

Interviewee: Carol Shea-Porter
Interviewer: Eben Kaplan
August 28, 2008

On the final day of the Democratic National Convention in Denver, Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter (D-NH), a member of the House Armed Services Committee, speaks with CFR.org about a variety of foreign policy challenges facing the United States.

On Iraq, she says it’s important that the United States honor the Iraqis requests for the removal of U.S. combat troops. Yet withdrawal must take place carefully, she says, or the United States risks reversing the progress made in recent months. Withdrawal should not be contingent on political progress in Iraq, she says, as Iraqi leaders have “had their time.” Shea-Porter suggests that expanding economic opportunities for Iraqis is one way to foster a stable environment after U.S. troops are gone.

Shea-Porter calls for an “intense diplomatic effort” toward Iran, and says that Washington should be firm in its interactions with Tehran. She calls for a broader regional effort to put pressure on Iran, which, she says, cannot be allowed to bully to its neighbors.

With regard to Russia, the congresswoman says the United States has had a number of “diplomatic stumbles.” Though Russia’s new assertiveness is cause for concern, she suggests a subtler brand of diplomacy and notes that the United States could do a better job of listening to Russia’s own concerns.

Shea-Porter says the strain on the military is cause for concern, especially given the challenges the United States faces in the world. Nevertheless, she believes the next administration is up to the task of rebuilding the military and properly defending the country.

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