Why Obama Is Tougher on Iran Than Romney Could Ever Be
Israel has been inundated this past month with visits from high-ranking U.S. officials, all coming armed with intelligence to suggest that there is still time for the West to act against Iran’s nuclear program (and by time, they mean post-November 6 time). Israel is also getting a visit this weekend from Mitt Romney, who is attempting to convince Americans that he will be tougher on Iran than Barack Obama. In my Bloomberg View column this week, I lay out why this might not be the case — why, in fact, Romney would be seriously hamstrung in his dealings with Iran, if he is elected president. Here are just a few of the reasons why he would have a potentially hard time confronting Iran militarily:
Romney would be a new president in 2013, which could plausibly be the year for a preventive attack. He will be inexperienced, and his national security team will be new and potentially inexperienced as well. The learning curve on Iran is steep, and the Iranian regime knows it. The Obama team is deeply knowledgeable, appropriately cynical about Iranian intentions, and has had the time and confidence to make course corrections.
Romney, by all accounts, is uninterested in inheriting the mantle of President George W. Bush, who invaded two Muslim countries and lost popularity and credibility as a result. Romney, despite his rhetoric, is more of a pragmatist than Bush, and far more cautious. An attack on Iran is an incautious act, one that even Bush rejected.