What is needed, and what Mitt Romney lacks, is pragmatism and the ability to negotiate: to realise that peace in the Middle-East is the most pressing problem in global affairs, one in which warfare should never be endorsed, and that a solution is only possible if the USA is not seen as such an unyielding ally of Israel.
Whilst it may be true that the result of the forthcoming US presidential election is determined more by the realms of domestic rather than foreign policy, the comments made by Republican presidential candidate, Mitt Romney, during his visit to Israel prove one thing: the future of Middle Eastern (and world) peace lies very much in the hands of the citizens of the United States of America and their ability to elect the correct President.
In what can only be seen as an attempt to win the Jewish American vote, if not outright Zionism, Romney offended every Arab and every Middle Eastern peace activist by ignorantly suggesting that, firstly, the economic disparity between Israel and Palestine is the result of a superior Israeli culture and, secondly, that Jerusalem is the rightful capital, and property, of Israel. The implications of such statements, if uttered in the time of the last US election campaigns, would have been immense – such was the global significance of the Palestinian question. What is an unfortunate fact, however, is that the Israel-Palestine conflict has been, and will continue to be, pushed to the side as the issue of a nuclear Iran takes precedence.
Nonetheless, seemingly determined to ensure the complete instability of the Middle-East, Romney furthered his recklessness by announcing his intentions for US foreign policy regarding Iran. Clearly unsatisfied with the already capricious nature of the politics of the Middle-East, Romney suggested that his administration would fully support Israel in a pre-emptive strike on Iran, stating that the USA “should employ any and all measures to dissuade the Iranian regime from its nuclear course”.
Yes, common sense dictates that Iran should not be allowed possession of nuclear weaponry but what is evident in Romney is a war-mongering potential president who seeks to employ the same neo-conservative hard-line stance of Ronald Reagan in the Cold War. Romney fails to understand the difference in situation; belligerent actions will do nothing but aggravate the ‘radical theocracy’ that is Iran. What is needed, and what Romney apparently lacks, is pragmatism and the ability to negotiate: to realise that peace in the Middle-East is the most pressing problem in global affairs, one in which warfare should never be endorsed, and that a solution is only possible if the USA is not seen as such an unyielding ally of Israel.
It would be easy for the Obama administration to adopt such a position on Iran, yet this current administration realise several reasons why warfare should not be advocated. The first and most obvious reason is the fact that action against Iran would not go unanswered. Iran itself would retort, but the greater fear of the US is that the peace of other countries cannot be guaranteed. Israel’s foes in the Middle-East have been happy to keep their peace for the time-being, but the reciprocal effect of an Israeli pre-emptive strike remains unknown. There is the very real chance that countries all over Africa and the Middle-East will rescind any peace settlements or détentes with Israel, not to mention the already hostile and nuclear North Korea and Pakistan rushing to the support of Iran. A Third World War is most definitely a tangible outcome of hostilities in the Middle-East.
In addition to this, the USA is aware that Israel’s own nuclear capabilities are a result of them choosing to opt out of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. To protect non-proliferation of nuclear weaponry with such a hardened standpoint, as to support a belligerent attack, whilst actively allying with Israel, a state that ensures such opacity in its own nuclear programme, would not go down terribly well with the rest of the world. The Obama administration is acutely aware of this; Mitt Romney is, evidently, not.
In any case, if President Romney did manage to successfully put a lid on hostilities between Israel and Iran, what exactly would be his strategy in the Israel-Palestine conflict? During his visit to Israel in the last week, the Republican presidential candidate adopted what would be the most pro-Israel stance of any US President since the creation of the Jewish State in 1948. Having effectively alienated all Palestinian support, any attempts by Romney to be the mediator for negotiations would be academic.
The only plausible impact Romney could have upon the Palestinian question is to give Israel the go ahead to crush the Palestinians with their unparalleled military strength – something that nobody should put past the tactless Republican. If Romney is elected President, there will most likely be no positive development in the Israel-Palestine conflict for the duration of his incumbency and if there were to be, it would come without the help of the United States of America. If Romney is to be elected to the most powerful position in world politics, Israel and Palestine will be stuck in the retaliatory violence and attacks on one another that has defined their relationship in recent memory, and Palestinians will continue to be trapped within Gaza and the West Bank with no hope of development.
Please America, anyone but him.