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Opinion | Romney needs specifics on Iran to plan for nuclear future

dickgr@muohio.edu

Published: Friday, September 28, 2012

Updated: Friday, September 28, 2012 03:09

A flash of blinding light, followed by a cloud of rising smoke, eight million people wiped off the face of the earth in the blink of an eye. This is the situation the world might be faced with should Iran become a nuclear power.

This may seem far-fetched now, but one only has to look at the heated rhetoric used by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in nearly every single address he has given to the United Nations General Assembly to know that should the United States and the rest of the international community allow Iran to go nuclear the annihilation of the Jewish State is a real possibility.

With just over a month left before election day and just days away from the first of three presidential debates, you would think the threat of a nuclear Iran would lead foreign policy to get more than a passing reference from both of the campaigns. While the economy is clearly issue number one – especially after one candidate claimed 47 percent of the population is completely dependent on the government and the other during his time in office let unemployment stay above 8 percent for forty consecutive months – it would be nice to hear more about how these two men view America’s place in the world.

This criticism, while it could apply to both candidates applies more to Mr. Romney who lacks a foreign policy record altogether. Whether you agree with or disagree with the President’s decisions regarding foreign policy during his first term, he at least has a record the American people can look to before deciding on the next four years.

This is more than Mr. Romney can say, as he failed to even mention the War in Afghanistan during his address to the delegates of the Republican National Convention and launched a distasteful criticism of President’s policy immediately following the death of Ambassador Stevens.

There is still however time for Mr. Romney to right this wrong and tell the American people more than just the fact that he believes Jerusalem is Israel’s capital, as he did during his now infamous summer trip, or that we will support our ally no matter what.

Mr. Romney needs to tell the American people not that he will support them but how. Answer for the voter the question of how will a President Romney stop the threat of a nuclear Iran. Not with vagueness, like his now over-simplified five step plan to restore the American economy, but with very specific details that his original 59 point economic plan laid out.

A plan that starts by telling the Iranians we will not stand by and let them go nuclear and that we will do more than issue economic sanctions if their centrifuges don’t stop spinning. Because, if we have learned anything from recent events, it is that we know despite four rounds of sanctions, our efforts to cripple their economy and halt their development of nuclear capabilities aren’t working. A point best illustrated by Tehran’s hosting of 120 nations for a meeting of the Non-Aligned Movement. A meeting whose participants included economic powerhouses like India, whose delegation included the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

It is pretty clear now to both Israel and 120 other nations in the world, that the economic sanctions put in place by both the Obama and Bush Administrations are no longer a severe enough deterrent to the Iranians. That’s why as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has repeatedly said a red line identifying a threshold, that should it be crossed military intervention will occur, must be articulated. Without clear boundaries and consequences should those boundaries be violated in place, we only give Iran a pass to continue what they are doing and add to the instability in the region that not only threatens our allies but also our already fragile economy.

Since President Obama has consistently balked at drawing a red line, this means it is up to Mitt Romney to tell the American people what we need to hear. That America is strong and should a nation choose to challenge our allies and our way of life there will be more than just economic consequences.

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