Gallery H
Dangerous Words
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Did Romney Set Us Up For A War Against Iran?

By James Donahue

Ever since he took office, President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton have been walking on eggs over the issue of diplomacy between Iran, Israel and the Palistenians. They know, as most world leaders know that the tensions between these three nations, coupled with the uprisings in Syria and Eqypt, have been like a powder keg with many lighted fuses leading into it from all directions.

As an influencial world power, the United States government has been playing the strange role of extinguishing those fuses even as more of them are being lighted by new events.

It is no secret that Iran and Israel are playing the dangerous game of chicken over Iran's demands for the right to build nuclear power plants and enrich the uranium it needs for what it calls peaceful uses. Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, however, continues to declare Iran's real intentions are to build a nuclear bomb. He believes this is a looming threat to his country and he warns of a military strike before it comes to that.

The Obama Administration has been holding Israel in check, insisting that diplomacy and talks with Iranian leaders may stave off the inevitable. It was only in March of this year that Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei praised Mr. Obama for softening the "language of war" and raising hopes that he may be genuinely seeking a negotiated solution to the nuclear impasse with Tehran.

The United Nations has sent inspectors into Iran to examine that nation's nuclear facilities and they report finding no evidence that the Iranian leadership is building nuclear weapons.

The other players in this drama are Russia, which has been providing nuclear technology and assisting in the construction of the nuclear power facility and Egypt where last year's uprising led to the recent election of Mohammed Morsi, a member of the Muslim Brotherhood, as its new president. Unlike the overthrown President Hosni Mubarak, Morsi has been quick to make friendly ties with Gaza premier Ismail Haniyen of Hamas, and is expected to break the truce established by U.S. President Jimmy Carter between Egypt and Israel.

Hamas, long considered a Palestinian terrorist organization, has moved into politics and in recent years has won a majority of seats in the Palestinian Parliament. There have been violent clashes including rocket attacks between Hamas and Israel over possession of the Gaza territories shared by Israel and the Palestinians.

The bottom line in the Iran issue appears to be the vast yet untapped pool of crude oil believed to lie under Iranian soil. Iran is among the world's larger exporters of oil, much of it going to Russia and China. Both nations lie at the northern and eastern borders of Iran.

So this, in a nutshell, is a picture of the caldron of potential war that brews over the Iranian issue. And Mr. Obama has wisely chosen diplomacy and caution when dealing with these complex issues.

Enter Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney in his controversial visit with Israeli leadership last week. Romney promised that if elected to office, he is pledging "Israel's right to defend itself." He said in a public speech: "Make no mistake, the ayatollahs in Iran are testing our moral defenses. They want to know who will object and who will look the other way. We will not look away nor will our country ever look away from our passion and commitment to Israel."

Romney then infuriated the Palestinians when he declared Jerusalem the capital of Israel. That city is the location of the Temple Mount, among the holiest places in the Islamic world. It also has remained the site of the sacred Wailing Wall, a remnant of the old Hebrew temple, and an equally holy place among Christian pilgrims.

While Romney didn't say it, his top foreign policy advisor Dan Senor told reporters that Romney would support an Israeli military strike on Iran to defend itself against a potential nuclear strike by Tehran.

It is no secret that Romney is courting the Jewish vote in the United States. And in taking a war stance, he is putting great pressure on President Obama to make similar assurances to Israel.

As one columnist noted, it appears that Mr. Netanyahu may be in a position of pitting Romney against Obama to get the commitment he wants from the United States before planning a strike against Iran. This is dangerous diplomacy. If we dare to make such a commitment, and Netanyahu orders such a strike, it could easily trigger a third world war.

The players are lined up like a complex chess game. Israel attacks Iran. Iran, which has a strong military of its own, will counter attack. The United States gets involved supporting Israel. Then Russia and China, the Palestinians and Egypt will all jump into the fray with gunnsights on the U.S. and Israel.

If this happens, can Pakistan and India stay out of the fighting? They are both nuclear powers and they are old enemies. There appears to be no love lost between India and China. And what about the other nuclear powers, England and France? Could they remain neutral in the midst of a world on fire?

Since Russia, China, Israel and the United States are all nuclear powers, can we avoid a nuclear confrontation? Can the world in such a fragile environmental and economic state survive such a war?

Mr. Romney's statements in Israel were irresponsible and dangerous. If a man like this gets elected to represent a party that has clearly sold itself out to the big business interests of the nation and possibly the world, the future of humanity as we know it may be in great jeapordy.