Senator Lindsey Graham on Diplomacy

This is a rush transcript from "Your World with Neil Cavuto," July 9, 2008. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

DAVIS ASMAN, GUEST HOST: Back to Iran now, direct talks vs. beefed-up defense. Barack Obama calling for direct diplomacy. John McCain wants a stronger missile defense. So, who is right? Obama's side in a minute.

First to Republican Senator Lindsey Graham. He's a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee and a McCain supporter.

Is there any room for dialogue or do we just have to stand tough, Senator?

SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: The dialogue has to be between the world community and Iraq. We have to be tough.

Video: Watch the interview with Senator Lindsey Graham

The world should unite around the idea that this missile testing, along with Iran's refusal to abandon their nuclear weapons program, presents a grave danger to the world. So, the right solution to this problem is not to sit down unilaterally with the Iranians and give them something. It is for the world to coalesce around the idea that Iran will be punished if they move forward with their efforts to get a nuclear weapon and put it on top of a missile.

ASMAN: We don't necessarily have to give Iran anything if we sit down and talk with them.


GRAHAM: Well, what are you going to talk to them about?

ASMAN: You can't think of anything?

GRAHAM: No, I think if you sit down with the Iranians...


ASMAN: By the way, we're going to be talking to Senator Bayh in just a moment. I left that pregnant pause there because I am sure he is be able to fill it. But go ahead.

GRAHAM: Yes, well, talk does not matter to Iran. They will — they will respond to action.

And I do not want a military engagement with Iran. It would be a very difficult task for us, the world at large. But talking is not going to work. What we need to do is impose sanctions that will. They depend on gasoline. The Western world, the world as a whole, with China and Russia, can change Iranian behavior if we will act. Talking will embolden these people. Acting will deter them.

ASMAN: You know, we just had to release of hostages in Venezuela. And we had been in this conversation, this almost endless conversation. Hugo Chavez got in the middle of it. We were told time and again we have to converse, we have to sit down with these rebels. The sitting down obviously did nothing but empower the rebels and Hugo Chavez at the same time.

Is there a similarity here in these situations?

GRAHAM: Yes, the Colombian president took matters in his own hands. They came up with a military strategy that was marvelous. It will go down in military history.

We sat down with Hitler, and it never worked with Hitler. Give him one more country. Appease this guy.

Talking with Iran is a form of appeasement. We need world action, not just United States action, not just Israeli action, but the world needs to rally around the idea that we're not going to let Iran get a nuclear weapon.

ASMAN: Right. But would we support Israel if, on its own, it tried to take out those nuclear installations?

GRAHAM: In my opinion, there is time to avoid that choice. Now is the time to act decisively with the world speaking with one voice.

But here is the question for the world. Are we going to sit on the sidelines and let Iran develop a nuclear weapon and the missile technology to start a war, World War III? The answer to me is no.

ASMAN: Well, Israel clearly — Israel clearly will not. And the question is, will we support them if they act unilaterally?

GRAHAM: It is my belief that the scenario of Israel attacking Iran is not a good scenario for the world or Israel. We need to avoid that if possible.

But if I'm the Israeli prime minister, I am not going to sit on the sidelines and listen to the rhetoric coming out of Iran, watch this weapons test and their nuclear program mature without doing something. The worst option in my opinion is to do nothing while you still can do something.

ASMAN: Senator Lindsey Graham, thank you for coming on. Appreciate it.


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