Ben Armbruster noticed part of a Mitt Romney radio interview in which he argues that the U.S. should “carefully reconsider” and possibly downgrade relationships with numerous other states if they vote for Palestinian statehood at the U.N. At one point, Romney says:
I think that people who vote against us in significant ways have to understand that there are consequenses of that and we will see them in a different light and our support for the Palestinian people will be adjusted if they continue to pursue this desire to have a separate vote and to be established as having a quasi-state status within the U.N. This is something which will end our support in foreign aid to the Palestinian effort. It will at the same time reshape our policy with regards to nations that oppose us [bold mine-DL]. People have to recognize that we’re nice but we’re not crazy.
This is a good example of what I was describing earlier in the week. Obama has made it clear that the U.S. will veto the Palestinian application for statehood, and the U.S. has been actively lobbying current members of the Security Council in the hope that the veto will not become necessary. In all likelihood, recognition will receive the necessary nine votes to pass, so the U.S. will have to exercise its veto, but there is absolutely no doubt in anyone’s mind that the U.S. will do this. Since Obama has already taken the official “pro-Israel” position, there would seem to be no way for Romney to attack the administration for being insufficiently supportive, and there is nothing right now that Obama is doing on Israel and Palestine to which Romney objects. How does Romney demonstrate that his “pro-Israel” position is even more hard-line and unreasonable than this? He threatens to wreck numerous other international relationships for the sake of “punishing” states that vote the other way. How this proves to the rest of the world that “we’re not crazy” is unclear.
Would Romney really be willing to undermine or sabotage good relations with as many as a dozen other countries over this one issue? He seems to be saying that he would also “reconsider” relations with states that voted for recognition in the General Assembly, which as Armbruster notes would require Washington to “reconsider” its relations with most other states on the planet. I have my doubts that Romney would do this if it were up to him, but the worrying thing is that he is willing to take a position this far out because he thinks this is what some people in the party expect him to say.