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Another Reason to Be Grateful That Romney Isn’t President

Mitt Romney wants to remind [1] 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.

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24 Comments To "Another Reason to Be Grateful That Romney Isn’t President"

#1 Comment By icarusr On March 13, 2015 @ 10:34 am

“kinetic alternative”?

Aside from the fact that what he is arguing is daft, the way he is arguing it is good enough reason to thank the Heavens he is not president.

Laying a country of 80 million souls to waste in an illegal war that is sure to result in a massive regional conflagration is now a mere term of physics. As the good professor said, Romney “should be hung, for the cold-blooded murder of the English tongue.”

#2 Comment By KXB On March 13, 2015 @ 11:19 am

“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.”

He really was a consultant, wasn’t he?

#3 Comment By Grumpy Old Man On March 13, 2015 @ 11:38 am

He doesn’t seem like that much of a dummy, and he no longer had a need to pander. Frightening.

#4 Comment By collin On March 13, 2015 @ 12:07 pm

Wow! And I thought Obama loved him some “Sanctions!” and when that doesn’t work “More Sanctions” My guess the 2016 Presidential and Primary debates are going to be whose “Sanctions!” are the biggest.

#5 Comment By Pro Bono On March 13, 2015 @ 12:54 pm

Romney and the GOP’s other Netanyahu worshippers are going to look pretty stupid if Herzog hands “The Leader of the Free World” his ass in the election next week, as may well happen.

But I guess they’re used to looking stupid. In any cases their near-perfect record of failure on foreign policy doesn’t seem to slow them down any.

#6 Comment By Ian G. On March 13, 2015 @ 12:58 pm

Has anyone else noticed how ISIS has dropped off the media radar as quickly as Ebola did? My guess is that Roger Ailes instructed the right-wing noise machine to shut up about ISIS after the Netanyahu farce, lest anyone come to the realization that a war with Iran would be doing ISIS an enormous favor.

#7 Comment By Duncan On March 13, 2015 @ 1:25 pm

I think those terms are perfectly acceptable — if we impose them on Israel too. On the US for that matter. You can’t allow countries run by elected religious nutcases to have nuclear weapons, after all.

#8 Comment By Brian M On March 13, 2015 @ 1:44 pm

I’m with Duncan. Why is their no mention at all of Israel’s illegal weapons? And why no moralizing about the only nation on history that bombed not one but two cities (of limited military value)with nuclear weapons?

#9 Comment By Joe F On March 13, 2015 @ 1:44 pm

This is where the GOP gets it all wrong, if the talks fail because of American intransigence, the results will be less punitive sanctions, not more because the Europeans will abandon the American position. The irony of their silly letter was that it gave pause to our allies (or friends as the GOP likes to call them) that we are unreliable partners in negotiations. I will have to agree with Norman Ornstein’s observation that the GOP is reckless, but the Democrats are feckless. How does this party remain virtually silent in the face of the ongoing insanity of the Republicans. Each party has shown themselves to be useless as a party in opposition

#10 Comment By Essayist-Lawyer On March 13, 2015 @ 1:45 pm

“Kinetic alternative,” huh? Is that a routine euphemism for war I just haven’t heard before, or has Romney coined a new one?

#11 Comment By Agentzero On March 13, 2015 @ 1:47 pm

All of these politicians advocating sanctions should be required to answer the following question: “Suppose that China wanted America to do something it didn’t want to do, and decided to impose sanctions to force America to do it. At what level of sanctions would you agree that America should bend to China’s will? And if there is no such level, why would the Iranians react any differently?”

#12 Comment By John On March 13, 2015 @ 1:53 pm

Kinetic alternative: what you call an unprovoked act of war when you want people not to focus on the lack of provocation or all the inevitable civilian dead.

#13 Comment By Hyperion On March 13, 2015 @ 2:18 pm

For the last several Thanksgivings I have annoyed many people in my family (during our required round of “what I give thanks for”) by saying that I am truly thankful that the US was spared John McCain and Mitt Romney presidencies.

#14 Comment By Myron Hudson On March 13, 2015 @ 2:52 pm

Baldly put, he wants us to go to war because Bibi says so. He would even disregard Israel’s Mossad on the subject because Bibi says so. That’s not leadership, that’s being a lap dog.

#15 Comment By John Doe On March 13, 2015 @ 3:06 pm

By the way, always wanted to ask what does “illegal war” in the articles on this site mean? “War, that the U.S. declared in violation of the U.S.’s own laws”, or “War, that the U.S. declared in violation of the international laws and treaties it ratified”? I am pretty sure the UN Charter prohibits the threat and the use of force in international conflicts, unless the UNSC deems the use of force necessary.

#16 Comment By Andrew Zook On March 13, 2015 @ 3:34 pm

@Ian G. – great point. I’ll have to remember that next time a Fox/Israel firster rants bellicose about Iran. I imagine quite a few haven’t even thought of that point… but maybe they have and are equally (and insanely) up for fighting both at the same time.

#17 Comment By Patricia Kayden On March 13, 2015 @ 6:40 pm

Funny how so many Republicans love wars that they and their families don’t fight.

#18 Comment By Winston On March 14, 2015 @ 1:54 am

Romney has no morals. It is not surprising, many people professing to be religious -in all religions, behave immorally!

#19 Comment By Darth Thulhu On March 14, 2015 @ 2:14 am

Daniel wrote:

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.

Hear hear!

The choice between Obama 2008 and McCain was 40% Evil v 70% Evil. Terrible as that has been, thank God we only got stuck with 40% Evil.

The choice between Obama 2012 and Romney was 50% Evil v 80% Evil. Terrible as that has been, thank God we only got stuck with 50% Evil.

The choice between (please no!) Clinton 2016 and (pleeeeease no!) the Two-Faced Republican Warmonger of the Moment will be 60% Evil v 90% Evil. Terrible as that choice will be, thanks will still be due if we only get stuck with 60% Evil.

If any major party ever wants to nominate a candidate under 50% Murderous and Counterproductive Overseas Evil, that would of course be an unexpected and refreshing change.

#20 Comment By HoneyBee On March 14, 2015 @ 2:43 pm

@Darth : “The choice between (please no!) Clinton 2016 and (pleeeeease no!) the Two-Faced Republican Warmonger of the Moment will be 60% Evil v 90% Evil. […] thanks will still be due if we only get stuck with 60% Evil.”

You forgot Bill. Hillary + Bill = (asymptotically) 100% Evil, the highest possible score.

#21 Comment By Ron Goodman On March 15, 2015 @ 1:39 am

Whatever else he’s gotten wrong, if Obama can nail down a deal solid enough to not be overturned by the first neocon to follow him(Republican or Democrat), he will have saved hundreds of thousands of lives.

#22 Comment By Good Dog On March 15, 2015 @ 1:02 pm

Fascinating. Romney’s words bear re-reading.

They strongly convey the sense of a junior officer interpreting a direct order, in this case from Netanyahu.

What follows “… here is what I heard Netanyahu say …” is not Romney’s thinking, it’s Romney’s take on the thinking of someone he feels obliged to obey.

Romney’s strangely subservient relation to Netanyahu has been remarked before. For example, back in 2011, when asked about his foreign policy in the Middle East, he said “I’d get on the phone to my friend Bibi Netanyahu and say: ‘Would it help if I say this? What would you like me to do?’“

Since Romney is also known for self-interested flip-flops, it’s of at least passing interest that despite losing the election he is honoring his pledge to be Netanyahu’s bitch.

#23 Comment By EliteCommInc. On March 15, 2015 @ 9:42 pm

“Funny how so many Republicans love wars that they and their families don’t fight.”

It has been seven years since a Republican has been in office. And in that eight years, democrats have been all too happy to engage in warfare with the lives of others that have exacerbated the destabilization making Iraq look like a Palm Springs oasis.

I find it hard to take anyone seriously who bemoans Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan and all but ignores what the demcrats have ddone with foreign policy in the last seven years.

You are all about salivating over Sec Clinton, whose every position reflects that of the last admin and undoubtly she thinks this admin has been timid on foreign use of force.

In seven years, democrats have seem incapable of taking responsibility for anything. The CHeif excutive is responsible for the use of the military and while some hear chorus comments on Iran, they have igored the bizarre double bind our foreign policy is in with respect to ISIS, Iran, and Syria.

Not to mention up to their necks in pushing a regional conflict in the Caucuses, Eight months ago Sec. Clinton was all but advocating a war with Russia over the Ukraine.

The democratic and liberal blame game remains in effect since the the current executive was elected and it should be embarrassing.

And just an FYI, the rate of avoiding service by those in power is not a party tactic. It’s generally about wealth/privilige regardless or party. It is a practice as old as warfare.

But if you take a look at Vietnam service records, the wealthy served as proportionately as everyone else.

#24 Comment By EliteCommInc. On March 15, 2015 @ 9:47 pm

“Finally, if contrary to reason and expectation those sanctions don’t bring Iran to its senses [bold mine-DL], prepare for a kinetic alternative.”

I really like Gov. Romney. But at the moment it is the US that looks out its senses.

1. You cannot escape the consequences of Iraq by starting up with Iran.

2. The suggestion that Iran is going to capitulate when they have established — and excuse the use of the term, Mr. Larison, such momumental ME credibility is just sh’ay a good laugh.
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“Romney has no morals. It is not surprising, many people professing to be religious -in all religions, behave immorally!”

Nonsense.