Once again emphasizing there is no fundamental difference between Obama and Romney when it comes to attacking Iran, the American Jewish Committee has published the answers to a questionnaire sent to the candidates.
From the Jewish Telegraphic Agency website:
“I am prepared to use all elements of American power” to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon, Obama said in the questionnaires released Oct. 18 by the AJC, “including a political effort to further isolate Iran, a diplomatic effort to sustain our coalition, an economic effort that has imposed crippling sanctions, and a military effort to be prepared for any contingency.”
Romney’s response was nearly identical:
“I will press for ever tightening sanctions on the regime, acting multilaterally where we can and unilaterally where we must, and leave no doubt in the mind of the regime’s leaders that the military option remains on the table.”
Romney tried to make political points by sucking up to Israel and the Israeli lobby in the United States: “Unlike President Obama, I understand that distancing the U.S. from Israel doesn’t earn us credibility in the Arab world or bring peace closer,” he said. “Instead, it encourages Palestinians to hold out and wait for Washington to deliver more Israeli concessions.”
Romney said he plans to create “regional directors” who “will possess unified budgetary and policy authority.”
The JTA’s response to this development: “With such powers concentrated in an individual, pro-Israel groups would likely closely watch and want to influence whomever a Romney administration would name to the Middle East post.”
In fact, pro-Israel neocons already dictate Romney’s Middle East foreign policy. Fifteen of the 22 members of Romney’s foreign policy team were policy advisers under Bush, and six of them are former members of PNAC, Joseph Sarkisian points out.
Neocons from the American Enterprise Institute, the Brookings Institute, and the Hudson Institute dominate Romney’s advisors. “The American-Israeli Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) thinks highly of these policy advisers, who are all ardent supporters of the Israeli desire to end Iran’s nuclear program with force if necessary,” writes Sarkisian.
“Just like in Iraq, there is no verifiable proof of WMD in Iran, yet once again the same group of people want to use the same methods to start a similar war for the interests of the few, with no regard for the consequences,” he concludes.
Poll results are, of course, highly misleading, but if we are to believe the latest results Romney and Obama are locked in a dead heat sixteen days out from the election.
Despite Romney’s coterie of neocons, Democrat Chuck Schumer believes Obama is more likely to attack Iran than his opponent. “I’ll tell you this on Iran, and I’ve said this to a couple of Romney supporters who agree, that if the sanctions fail, and military action is warranted, a re-elected President Obama is far more likely to launch that kind of military action, probably in concert with Israel, than would Mitt Romney,” Schumer told CNN in September.
Following Obama’s lackadaisical performance during the first debate, his administration “leaked” a plan for striking Iran’s nuclear facilities. CFR member and visiting scholar at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, David Rothkopf, wrote in Foreign Policy earlier this month that the White House and Israeli officials “assert that the two sides behind the scenes have come closer together in their views [regarding Iran] in recent days.”
Rothkopf quoted a “source close to the discussions” as saying that a surgical strike aimed at Iran’s enrichment facilities “might take only ‘a couple of hours’” at best and would be conducted by air using bombers and drones.
Despite the outcome of the election, a strike on Iran – limited, surgical or otherwise – will occur within the next few months, if not weeks.