In an interview the NewsHour's Ray Suarez, high-profile national security aides to past presidents discussed the scope of the international issues facing President-elect Barack Obama when he becomes president on January 20, 2008.
Zbigniew Brzezinski and Brent Scowcroft discussed four big international problems facing the Obama presidency: the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, U.S. policy toward Pakistan, and possible negotiations with Iran.
Brzezinski urged Obama to negotiate with Iran and reverse the Bush administration's policy of refusing to participate in high level talks with the country. Scowcroft cautioned that leaving Iraq too quickly could be dangerous and he argued that Pakistan is the most important country to the United States because of its size and influence in Afghanistan.
"I think we'll be out of Iraq, anyway, two or three or less years from now. But in Afghanistan, we'll have a continuing process and one which we have to deal with much more subtly and politically." - Zbigniew Brzezinski, former national security adviser to Jimmy Carter
"When we leave, we want to leave an Iraq which is an influence for stability in the region, not for chaos and conflict. And you can't do that necessarily by the calendar." - Brent Scowcroft, former national security adviser to Presidents Ford and Bush 1
"We ought to be talking with Iraq's neighbors, the political parties in Iraq, but everybody is playing political games, too, in Iraq. Part of the Iraqis want to leave right now; part of them don't want us to leave at all." - Brent Scowcroft
"We have to engage in serious negotiations to see if there are some areas of agreement and coincidental interest with Iran. And it seems to me these negotiations have to focus largely on two issues, one, regional stability, where we have much at stake, but so does Iran, being in the region, and, secondly, the question of the Iranian nuclear program." - Zbigniew Brzezinski
What do you think are the most important international issues the United States has to deal with?
What are some of the foreign policy issues Barack Obama mentioned during his campaign?
Did the two presidential advisers agree on everything? Where did they disagree?
Do you think the Obama administration should talk to its enemies? Why or why not?
How do you think President-elect Obama will differ from President Bush on foreign policy issues?
Do you think Obama will take the United States out of Iraq? Should he? Why or why not?