Home/Daniel Larison/Another Reason to Be Grateful That Romney Isn’t President

Another Reason to Be Grateful That Romney Isn’t President

Mitt Romney wants to remind you why you’re glad he’s not president:

But in case there is any misunderstanding, here is what I heard Netanyahu say: Walk away from a Swiss-cheese agreement; institute even more punitive and crippling sanctions than have been imposed; and remove those sanctions only when Iran agrees to dismantle its nuclear enrichment capability and to submit to unrestricted inspections. Finally, if contrary to reason and expectation those sanctions don’t bring Iran to its senses [bold mine-DL], prepare for a kinetic alternative.

Romney wants Obama give up on getting most of what the U.S. and its allies want for the sake of the illusion of being able to get everything. For the sake of this fantasy, Romney has no problem entertaining a “kinetic alternative.” That is, he has no objections to starting an illegal war if Iran refuses to yield to demands for capitulation under “even more punitive and crippling sanctions,” and since we have every reason to expect that Iran won’t yield Romney’s great alternative is to put the U.S. on track to fight yet another war in the region. Despite the protestations of some hawks that their alternative to a nuclear deal isn’t war, Romney is very clear that this is where his preferred policy would lead.

If the U.S. did as Romney wanted and “walked away” from the negotiations, international support for sanctions would collapse. There would be no question of having “even more punitive and crippling sanctions,” since the U.S. would be correctly seen as having wrecked the negotiations at the last minute. Many of the states that had previously been helping to pressure Iran economically would go back to doing business with them, and Iran would find itself under even less pressure than it is now. Judged on its own terms, Romney’s proposed alternative is a joke. This is a classic Romney foreign policy argument: set unrealistic goals, misunderstand the most important relevant issues, endorse the most aggressive and coercive options, and threaten the use of force when all else fails. Romney has given us every reason to expect that this is the sort of foreign policy he would have conducted if he had won the election, and so we should be very grateful that he did not.

about the author

Daniel Larison is a senior editor at TAC, where he also keeps a solo blog. He has been published in the New York Times Book Review, Dallas Morning News, World Politics Review, Politico Magazine, Orthodox Life, Front Porch Republic, The American Scene, and Culture11, and was a columnist for The Week. He holds a PhD in history from the University of Chicago, and resides in Lancaster, PA. Follow him on Twitter.

leave a comment

Latest Articles