ROMNEY TALKS TOUGH – AT 8:29 A.M. ET: I hope Mitt Romney doesn't flip-flop on this, because his stand on Iran is right on. The likely GOP nominee is going after President Obama's utterly failed diplomacy on Iran, a failure that continues to this hour.
The administration is already sending out mixed signals after a devastating UN report on Iran essentially accused Tehran, for the first time, of developing nuclear weapons. Yes, Washington said, it's a tough report. But on the other hand...
And the other hand seems to be winning. While Washington and its European allies go through the motions of toughening sanctions on Iran, administration leakers are warning that tougher sanctions can hurt the world economy and drive up oil prices. Some European nations are ludicrously asking for a meeting of the UN Security Council to discuss Iran, knowing full well that any real action would be vetoed by Russia and China, making a discussion meaningless.
And, of course, there are the familiar efforts to blame, not Iran for its behavior, but those who want to stop Iran. Why, they could start a war.
Romney is stalwart on this, and we hope he continues:
Mitt Romney is seizing on the latest report on Iran’s nuclear program to drive home his criticism of President Barack Obama’s “extraordinary record of failure” in dealing with Tehran, and vowing that he will have a “very real and very credible military option” in the region as president.
The Republican presidential hopeful warned in an op-ed published in the Wall Street Journal Thursday that Iran is “making rapid headway” toward developing nuclear weapons, and yet “rhetoric and policy have been sharply at odds” under the Obama administration.
“A serious U.S. strategy to block Iran’s nuclear ambitions became an urgent necessity. But that is precisely what the administration never provided. Instead, we’ve been offered a case study in botched diplomacy and its potentially horrific costs,” Romney wrote, following the International Atomic Energy Agency’s recent warning about Iran’s nuclear program.
Romney vowed that as president, he would not only impose tougher economic sanctions on Tehran and speak out more forcefully against Iranian dissidents, but that he would also draft a stronger military plan to ensure that Iran abandons its nuclear ambitions.
“I will back up American diplomacy with a very real and very credible military option. I will restore the regular presence of aircraft carrier groups in the Mediterranean and the Persian Gulf region simultaneously,” he said. “I will increase military assistance to Israel and coordination with all of our allies in the region.”
“Barack Obama has shredded his own credibility on Iran, conveyed an image of American weakness, and increased the prospect of a cascade of nuclear proliferation in the unstable Middle East,” he said. “The United States needs a very different policy.”
COMMENT: Romney has stated it well. But the overall reaction in Washington to the UN report on Iran has been disappointing. The economy overwhelms every other issue. It is a reminder of the 1930s, when the Great Depression made it difficult for Americans to focus on foreign threats.
November 10, 2011