Romney On Foreign Policy

“If you want peace, prepare for war.” This Latin phrase sums up Mitt Romney’s plan for halting Iran’s nuclear program. Although it reeks of the typical American machismo response to foreigners, there lingers a scent of pompousness.

Romney wrote an op-ed to the Wall Street Journal criticizing President Obama’s handling of Iran. I don’t wish to act as Obama’s personal guardian since there are plenty who will rush to his defense. In fact I agree with one of Romney’s critiques in particular.

In 2009, thousands of Iranians  took to the streets wearing green shirts and scarves. They marched united and chanted against the undemocratically elected President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Thus, the green movement would take form, but it would be met with bullets, bloodshed and a media blackout. But the Iranians stood strong and used technology to their advantage and organized more protests.

While their defiance was inspiring, Obama’s reaction was deficit in enthusiasm. Many critics, particularly the GOP, criticized Obama for his faint support for such a tremendous moment. As Romney put it Obama’s actions were a “shameful abdication of moral authority.”

I disagree with Romney’s assertion that it is Obama’s responsibility to act as a moral authority since I would hesitate to label any president as an authority on morality. Instead it is an expectation that the President of the United States would be an advocate for democracy.

But Obama seems to lack either sensibility or gutsiness.

His mute response re-emerged during the Wisconsin protests that occurred earlier this year. It was a chilly February morning when thousands of teachers, firefighters and students flooded the capital. They filled the Madison building leaving little space for even air to squeeze through. They carried banners and shouted, “Kill the bill.” Their aim was to stop a bill that would strip unions of their collective bargaining rights. And yet Obama did little to support his own political base.

In both instances Obama reduced himself to a spectator and became a mere whisper among the bellowing of real change.

During the 2008 elections, Obama said if elected he would have diplomatic meetings with Iran with no preconditions; the statement seems to be haunting him even as 2012 approaches. Romney stated that “whether this approach was rooted in naïveté or in realistic expectations can be debated; I believe it was the former.”

Romney continues to ridicule Obama’s policy on Iran stating that the sanctions imposed have done little to stop Iran form obtaining nuclear weapons and that Obama has weakened the image of U.S. in the Middle East.

Yet Romney’s strategy is dependent on an assumed American superiority that will not only strike fear into the evil Iran but it will simultaneously restore America as the emblem of divine greatness and freedom.

I’m being facetious, but Romney’s approach is as simplistic and idealistic as he claims Obama’s strategy is.

He states, “Only when the ayatollahs no longer have doubts about America’s resolve will they abandon their nuclear ambitions.” But after having initiated two wars and removing a dictator who was only thought to have nuclear weapons, what doubt would any person have about the U.S.’s capabilities?

Regardless, Romney continues to vaguely detail his plan. He would “restore the regular presence of aircraft carrier groups in the Mediterranean and the Persian Gulf region” and “increase military assistance to Israel.”

But how would an increase military presence near Iran and an increase in aide to Israel, a nation that the president of Iran despises, discourage any nuclear program? In fact wouldn’t such an approach merely instigate conflict or at least encourage the attainment of a nuclear weapon?

Although Romney attempts to expose Obama’s policy on Iran as feeble, coincidently he reveals himself to be as spineless as Obama.

Nidia Sandoval is a third-year history major. She can be reached at nidias@uci.edu.