In an article today in Commentary magazine, neoconservative writer Jonathan Tobin asks: ‘Who can be trusted to act on Iran?’ The question, of course, is rhetorical. What he’s really asking is; is Romney any more likely to attack Iran than Obama?
The answer is simple. After the election is over, no matter who wins, Iran will be attacked.
The reason Tobin asks the question is because, while Romney has said ‘nothing is off the table’ – just as Obama has and George W before him did – neither Romney nor Obama has said they will actually attack Iran no matter what.
The reality is that both contenders for the Presidency need to tread a fine line in the lead up to the election. On one side of the line, a war-weary American people aren’t interested in heading off to yet another war for the Israelis – or anyone else. Already the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have cost them dearly in both blood and treasure to the point where many equate the current economic crisis in America with the debts that America has incurred because of the wars. They are unlikely to support a candidate that promotes war.
But on the other side of the line is America’s long-term end-game for the Middle East in which Israel plays a crucial role that both candidates acknowledge. Neither candidate can entirely ignore that.
If Obama wins the election, he becomes a second term nothing-to-lose president who can do as he pleases where the only consequences he must face is how historians will portray him after his presidency is over. While Obama has been saying he wants to give sanctions and diplomacy a chance before doing anything else, he has quietly and steadfastly been building up American forces in the Gulf ready to attack. All he needs is a casus belli. One will quickly arise just as soon as the election is over – the Israelis will see to that.
If Romney gets up on the 6 November it will be on the back of economic promises of a return to prosperity. But, for Romney war is much easier. He’s a Republican for a start. Once he goes to war, he’ll claim that the election gave him a mandate to deal with Iran as he sees fit. And, of course, the war machine is already in place.
In short, no matter who wins, the world loses and tens of thousands will die.