Eli Clifton at ThinkProgress directs us to a recent interview with Mitt Romney on Bill O’Reilly’s show in which Romney’s war rhetoric gets “challenged by an unlikely source”:
Interesting. Romney doesn’t really respond to O’Reilly’s estimation of the consequences of war on Iran, but it does make him roll back his overt threat of preemptive attack and stick with “crippling sanctions, treating them like a pariah, and preparing military options.”
First of all, Romney has spent months in the campaign trying to sell the lie that Obama is somehow soft on Iran and Americans need a strong warrior Republican in the White House in order to appropriately confront them. But once this “unlikely source” gives Romney a slice of reality regarding war with Iran, he literally reiterates the exact policy of the Obama administration. I’ve written about this before, but it should be clear to Republican voters (I pity you) that there is exactly zero space between the GOP establishment and Obama on what we’re all supposed to believe is the greatest threat to life on Earth, Iran. Their politicking is in vain, because Barack Obama is all the warmonger the mainstream can handle at this point.
Secondly, Romney’s policy prescription at the end of the clip is rather interesting. He says we have to engage in “crippling sanctions,” treating Iran like a “pariah,” and “preparing military options” or else they will get a nuclear weapon. For thirty years, the War Party has been predicting that Iran’s nuclear achievement is within two or three year’s reach. And for that same thirty years, the policy of the United States has been sanctions, isolation, and preparing military options. Hmm…something fishy in ol’ Mitt’s analysis.
As Flynt Leverett and Hillary Mann Leverett wrote after the release of the recent hyperbolic IAEA report, Iran’s strategy is probably “to create perceptions on the part of potential adversaries that Tehran is capable of building nuclear weapons in a finite period of time, without actually building them.” The reason for this strategy is because, as former IAEA chief Hans Blix recently said, Tehran is acting out of a perception of threat.
Namely, U.S. policy – which Romney regurgitates so eloquently – influences Iran strongly towards this defensive strategy. The U.S. has waged two aggressive, unnecessary wars directly along Iran’s east and west borders, constantly floods the Persian Gulf with fleets of navy warships, bribes client states surrounding Iranian territory with weapons systems and money to be subservient to U.S. interests and allow U.S. military bases there, and heaps restrictive sanctions on Iran’s energy and banking industries. Despite reprehensible policies of both governments, the U.S. is very close friends with Saudi Arabia and Israel, two of Iran’s top security threats, one of which the U.S. lets have nuclear weapons and both of which have recently called for unilateral strikes against Iran. In addition, the Bush administration asked Congress for funding for a program of support for anti-Tehran rebel ethnic groups to work to undermine the government, as well as for intelligence gathering and sabotage of the nuclear program. For years now, a concerted covert U.S. campaign of cyber-terrorism, commercial sabotage, targeted assassinations, and proxy wars has been under way in Iran. Add to that the constant public statements by U.S. officials of the highest order literally urging military attack and regime change in Iran. This is the status quo, and its continuation will result in a status quo strategy on the part of Iran.
This is the problem with the war hawks. They fail to see that there is another way. Other than refusing to simply deescalate aggressive militaristic postures, the U.S. has also had the opportunity to push for an agreement that would make the Middle East a nuclear-weapons-free-zone. Iran has repeatedly voiced support for such an agreement, so long as Israel complies as well. Ah, there’s the rub.