Mitt Romney backs Israel's right to attack Iran: Admirable or irresponsible?

The Republican presidential candidate visits Jerusalem, and courts controversy by taking a hawkish stand on Iran's nuclear program

During a visit to Jerusalem on July 29, Mitt Romney met with his old acquaintance Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
(Image credit: Lior Mizrahi/Xinhua Press/Corbis)

After a rocky visit to Great Britain, GOP presidential hopeful Mitt Romney got a much friendlier reception in Israel on Sunday. He visited the Western Wall, met with Israeli leaders and Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, held a $50,000-per-couple fundraiser, and dined at the house of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, an old acquaintance. Romney also delivered a policy speech, pointedly calling Jerusalem the capital of Israel (a controversial declaration that U.S. presidents have avoided for decades), and saying that the U.S. has a "solemn duty and a moral imperative" to keep Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons, and that "no option should be excluded" toward that end. Senior Romney foreign policy adviser Dan Senor was more explicit Sunday morning, saying that "if Israel has to take action on its own" to stop Iran, "the governor would respect that decision." Is all-but-endorsing a pre-emptive Israeli strike on Iran really a good idea for a presidential candidate?

Romney is being reckless: If Israel attacks Iran, says Martin Longman at Booman Tribune, much of the world will blame the United States, as we give Israel a huge amount of foreign aid. So it's downright "dangerous and irresponsible" for Romney to openly bless such a strike, especially with no conditions. That not only slaps at President Obama's foreign policy, it undermines it: "We are trying to prevent a war and Romney is urging Israel to start one." Besides, rather than making Romney look strong on defense, this "makes him look weak," as it appears that he's playing second fiddle to Netanyahu.

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