With the sunset as a backdrop, Mitt Romney spoke to a crowd of supporters and donors in Israel yesterday as part of a three-country trip to highlight his foreign policy.
His trip to the largely-Jewish nation has been a promotion of his foreign policy toward Iran. "We should employ any and all measures to dissuade the Iranian regime from its nuclear course. And it is our fervent hope that diplomatic and economic measures will do so," he said to the crowd. "In the final analysis, of course, no option should be excluded. We recognize Israel's right to defend itself and that it is right for America to stand with you."
Earlier in the day, an aide named Dan Senor said that Romney would respect the choice of Israel to lodge a preemptive and unilateral strike against Iran with the aim of crippling their nuclear program, a course the Obama administration has discouraged. This approach is definitively more aggressive than the Obama Administration's and would win the former governor favor with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
But Romney rolled back his campaign's rhetoric in an appearance on Face the Nation, saying, "I'll use my own words, and that is I respect the right of Israel to defend itself, and we stand with Israel. We're a nation — two nations — that come together in peace and want to see Iran being dissuaded from its nuclear folly."
President Obama has discouraged such tough talk from candidates in the past. In a January press conference, Obama noted that "what's said on the campaign trail, those folks don't have a lot of responsibilities. They're not commander-in-chief. And when I see the casualness with which some of these folks talk about war, I'm reminded of the costs involved in war."
The topic of Iran will no doubt form a heated topic during Presidential debates in the months to come, as both Obama and Romney vie for the Jewish-American vote. Meir Javedanfar is an Iranian Studies lecturer in Israel and believes that Romney's position won't get him far with Israelis. The current bundle of economic sanctions against Iran, Javedanfar says, will be tough to beat.