Cover Story

On the road again

"On the road again" Continued...

Issue: "On the road again," May 9, 2009

We talked some about international policy issues:

WORLD: What would you do about Iran right now?

HUCKABEE: We need to remember that the Iranian people are not our enemies; the Iranian leadership is not at all indicative of the total attitude. You may have forgotten this, but on the night of Sept. 11, 2001, when there was dancing in the streets in Arab capitals all around the world, in Tehran they lit candles. The Iranian people do not inherently hate Americans. In fact, there is a deep sense of angst within many Iranians because they had a long-time relationship with the American people. With the takeover of radical Islamic factions, the leadership makes Americans think that that is who they are. I have nothing but contempt for Ahmadinejad-and he's the puppet, he's not the power, it's the ayatollah behind him-but there are a lot of Iranians who would like to see something other than what they live under now.

WORLD: How does that translate into policy?

HUCKABEE: We need to be tough with the leadership and make it clear that they are not going to have nuclear capacity. They've made enough threats against Israel and the rest of the free world that that's not an option. It's not a matter of playing chicken with them; it's just a harsh military reality: They're not going to have nuclear power.

WORLD: If you were president, would you authorize a strike against Iran?

HUCKABEE: It would be a little presumptuous on my part to announce what I would do. I would look at all the options, but I would make sure they didn't have nuclear capacity.

WORLD: What about Israel and the Palestinians? Any hope there?

HUCKABEE: I've been to Israel 10 times; I've also been to virtually every other country in the area. This may put me in such a small minority, but I think this two-state solution is nonsense. If we're trying to get these two warring factions to occupy the same piece of real estate with two political entities layering over each other, that's absurd. We wouldn't tolerate it and they're not going to tolerate it. We shouldn't try to prolong the sense of that happening. [Israelis] not only have a right to existence, which is a fundamental agreement dating back to the early 1900s in the Balfour Declaration, but a right to a secure homeland. The tiny sliver of real estate they occupy, surrounded by people who are hostile to them, is really a very vulnerable place for them. Hoping for this two-state solution is simply not practical.

WORLD: Any thoughts on Pakistan?

HUCKABEE: I got pilloried by some of the secular press and particularly the "harrumph" crowd in D.C. because in the fall of 2007 I did an article for Foreign Policy and gave a speech in D.C. saying that the real threat was not Iraq but Pakistan, and the next terrorist attack would be conceived and launched there. I was considered an idiot lacking any knowledge of foreign affairs, and now everyone says, "Of course, we all knew this." If we were to get a package today from Osama bin Laden, it would be postmarked Pakistan.

And some other matters:

WORLD: Four of the last five Republican nominees have been people who ran before and lost, and then came back and ran again and won. Will you run again?

HUCKABEE: I think everybody assumes that I'm going to run again, but the honest answer is I don't know. I'm not being coy, because I might. But at this very moment, it is not on my mind and it's not something I sit around thinking about. I'm extraordinarily busy doing my show. . . . I'm doing three commentaries a day five days a week, for the ABC radio network. I'm speaking all over the place.

WORLD: Your speechmaking schedule sounds like the itinerary of someone who's running.

HUCKABEE: Yes, but I'm running to catch up from all the years I spent being a governor. I'm having a great time; I'm doing things I love to do. I'm raising money for pro-life groups. . . . My PAC is busy helping candidates that are involved in races. My attitude is that I may never run again, and I'm OK with that. It may be that my role is to help other people through the PAC.

WORLD: How much money have you personally lost since last September's stock market crash?

HUCKABEE: The good thing for me is I didn't have a whole lot. Every now and then there's an advantage to not having a whole lot of resources. I'm starting now for the first time to make more than I ever did in public service.

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