Monday, October 22, 2012

Romney, Iran, and Nukes

A Survivor of Hiroshima
Note: Only two nuclear weapons have been used in the course of warfare, both by the United States near the end of World War II. These two bombings resulted in the deaths of approximately 200,000 Japanese people—mostly civilians—from acute injuries sustained from the explosions. (Radiations Effects Research Foundation)

Foreign policy is the focus of the last presidential debate prior to election day. No doubt, one of the topics will be Iran's nuclear program. 

The Iranian government declares that its nuclear program is for peaceful, energy producing purposes. However, in spite of Tehran's protestations that the goals of its nuclear program is to provide fuel for medical reactors and a non-oil based energy source, the U.S., Europe, and Israel are skeptical and believe that the goal is to create nuclear weapons. 

A recent New York Times headline proclaimed that the White House has been in secret negotiations with Iran resulting in an agreement between the U.S. and Iran to engage in one-on-one negotiations over Iran's nuclear program. (NYT, 10/20/12) Before we all get excited that reason has prevailed, both the White House and Tehran are denying that any such agreement has been reached. (The Telegraph-UK, 10/21/12) The White House does assert that it is open to such negotiations. 

In the meantime, the Israelis continue to advocate that the U.S. set "clear red lines" on Iran's nuclear program that if crossed would trigger military action by the U.S. against Iran. (NYT, 9/11/12) Prime Minister Netanyahu of Israel has publicly criticized what he considers to be President Obama's soft policy towards Iran, and avers that if the U.S. won't draw a line in the sand regarding Iran's nuclear program that the U.S. "...has no 'moral right' to restrain Israel from taking military action of its own." (NYT, 9/11/12)

Presidential hopeful Mitt Romney has made it clear that he feels that the President should stop Iran in its pursuit of nuclear weapons and specifically rejects the notion of using diplomatic channels to address this issue. Already, Republicans are rejecting the notion of any negotiations with Iran, asserting that even if Iran makes an offer to parlay, it is only a ploy to distract from its real goal of making a nuclear bomb. South Carolina's Senator Lindsey Graham (R), a Romney ally, offered his views on Sunday, "The time for talking is over,...we should be demanding transparency and access to the (Iranian) nuclear program." (USA Today, 10/21/12

What is this red line that we need to draw? No one has made that perfectly clear. The Israeli government has indicated that it wants the U.S, to set a limit on the amount of enriched uranium (essential bomb making material) Iran may stockpile and enforce Iran's adherence to the limit with the threat of military force for a transgression. The Obama administration has rejected placing military action by the U.S. on the table as a possibility. Apparently, Romney doesn't share the President's views, as he has declared Obama to be soft on Iran and lacking in commitment to our ally, Israel.

The one question that I want Mr. Romney to answer tonight is what is his recommended course of action in dealing with Iran's nuclear program. I want specifics. Does he favor the red line spoken of by Netanyahu? If so, what will that line consist of? If elected, is Romney willing to take us into another war? Will he use military action if Iran crosses that red line? 

I admit that I don't need an answer; I think Romney has already made it perfectly clear that his image is of America the macho, the world enforcer. I just want to hear him say it and just maybe more of my fellow Americans will hear his words and reject an ideology predicated on the belief that might makes right.

Mitt Romney as commander-in-chief is a very scary proposition. It's like putting a ten-year-old behind the wheel of a race car. There was a folk song popular in the 1960s that had the line: When will we ever learn? It became an anthem for the anti-Vietnam War movement of the 1960s. Unfortunately, we appear to be a nation of slow-learners.

1 comment:

Jono said...

You want specifics from Romney??? What few have been given have all changed depending on which way the wind blows in that particular room. He certainly talks like he has an itchy trigger finger, though. We can't allow him that power.