Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney (R) found his hawkish rhetoric against Iran challenged by an unexpected source, Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly. Romney, who just last week said President Barack Obama was “weak and timid” for not ordering an airstrike to destroy a U.S. drone downed in Iran, faced harsh questions about the possible consequences of a military strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities:
ROMNEY: I’m ready to make sure we have military options combined with crippling sanctions.
BILL O’REILLY: Of course we have military options.
MITT ROMNEY: But we have developed in a way that Iran understands we would use military options.
O’REILLY: You’re a tough guy? You’re going to stare them down and say ‘Look, I’m gonna use them’? If you bomb Iran that starts World War III. You know that. They’re going to try to block Hormuz. Oil will double. The unintended consequences to the United States all across the Muslim world will be horrible. That’s what Iran is banking on.
ROMNEY: Then there’s the other side of the story, not taking crippling sanctions and treating them as the pariah they are and preparing military options. If you don’t do those things Iran has a nuclear weapon, nuclear material will ultimately be used.
O’Reilly isn’t the only voice suggesting that a military strike on Iran could have disastrous consequences.
Former Israeli Mossad chief Meir Dagan called bombing Iran “the stupidest idea I’ve ever heard” and warned that a military strike could actually push the Iranians to “obtain a nuclear weapon as quickly as possible.”
And in July, former George W. Bush administration National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley outlined the “devastating effect” that the closure of the Strait of Hormuz could have on the U.S. and global economies.
Romney had no answer for O’Reilly’s question about the the Iranian response to a U.S. or Israeli military strike. But the strong likelihood of regional instability and the closure of the Strait of Hormuz could have very real economic and security consequence for the U.S.