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Monday, October 29, 2012

How Romney plans to deal with Iran

Jeffrey Goldberg publishes an email he received from Mitt Romney in which the candidate answers questions about how he would deal with Iran as President.
“I have always talked about the diplomatic process,” he wrote. “I will not rule out diplomatic options, so long as we would not be rewarding bad behavior and so long as the Iranian leadership was truly cornered and ready to change its behavior. A crumbling economy is not enough. Because even with a crumbling economy, the Iranian leadership is still racing towards a bomb right now.”
Romney went out of his way to suggest that the Obama administration plans to spring some sort of late-November surprise on America’s Middle East allies, citing a recent New York Times report that Iran and the White House had agreed to face-to-face negotiations after the election (a report denied by the White House). “Our closest allies, like Israel, will not learn about our plans from the New York Times,” Romney wrote. “And I’ll be clear with the American people about where I’m heading. I won’t be secretly asking the Ayatollahs for more flexibility following some future election.”


He also denied that his new emphasis on negotiations means that he would accept less than a complete halt to Iran’s nuclear work: “To be clear, the objective of any strategy will be to get Iran to stop spinning centrifuges, stop enriching uranium, shut down its facilities. Full stop. Existing fissile material will have to be shipped out of the country.”
I asked Romney to name the biggest mistake he thinks Obama has made on Iran. “President Obama has sent the Ayatollahs mixed messages throughout the past four years,” he wrote. “That’s why he has lost credibility on the negotiating track. Round after round after round of talks and nothing to show for them. Iran continues to race to a nuclear weapons capability and continues to become more brazen in its support of terrorism around the world, including a terror plot in Washington, D.C.,” a reference to a thwarted plot, hatched in Tehran, to assassinate the Saudi Arabian ambassador to the U.S.
Romney went on: “What do I mean by mixed messages? In the first year of his administration, the President said he would sit down with Ahmadinejad without pre-conditions, and President Obama deliberately remained silent during the Green Revolution, signaling to the Ayatollahs that Iran’s dissident movement would not have America’s support. President Obama also pursued a policy of creating ‘daylight’ -- his word -- between the U.S. and Israel. And through the end of the third year of his administration, the president fought congressional efforts -- bi-partisan congressional efforts -- to pass crippling sanctions on Iran’s Central Bank. This all happened against the backdrop of the president’s top advisors and cabinet secretaries broadcasting the risks of the military option, therefore conveying to Iran’s leadership that the threat is simply not real. Add all of this together, one can understand why Iran’s leaders are not taking the United States very seriously these days.”
 I would add a couple of other points. I believe that Romney would be less likely to leave Israel hanging out to dry if it were to decide to go it alone against Iran. And I believe that Romney would be more amenable to reducing Israel's risks by acting sooner against Iran than would Obama. And I believe that Israel would be more willing to let Romney take the lead than would be the case with Obama, who is not trusted by much of this country's population, including most of its politicians.

But it doesn't sound like Goldberg asked him about any of that.

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At 10:55 PM, Blogger David Fink said...

Although he has never been an Obama shill, Goldberg has had an in to Obama administration, has generally supported Obama, and has thrived as a commentator because of it. I think he is now trying to figure out how to thrive under the next 4-8 years of a Romney administration. That's the reasoning behind his recent posts.


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