Vice President Joe Biden hit back at the Romney campaign’s foreign policy positions today in remarks delivered at New York University. In a wide ranging speech reviewing the Obama administration’s foreign policy, Biden criticized Romney’s “Cold War mindset” on national defense and slammed the presumptive Republican nominee for his “go it alone” foreign policy positions.
But Biden’s harshest reprimand of Romney was saved for the former Massachusetts governor’s critique of President Obama’s Iran policy. Romney has swung between essentially endorsing the Obama administration’s policy of diplomacy plus pressure — via sanctions — to calling for outright military action against Iran. Biden said:
Here’s what he says. He says we need “crippling sanctions,” apparently unaware that through President Obama’s leadership we produced just that, crippling sanctions. He emphasizes the need for “a credible military option” and “a regular presence of aircraft carrier groups” in the region, apparently ignorant of the fact that’s exactly what our policy is and what we’re doing.
Biden singled out Romney’s criticisms of the White House’s Iran-policy as “counterproductive” and promoting “loose talk of war” that could ultimately hurt the international sanctions regime engineered by the administration:
I think it’s fair to say the only step we could take that we aren’t already taking is to launch a war against Iran. If that’s what governor Romney means by a “very different policy” then he should tell the American people. He should say so. Otherwise the governor’s tough talk about military action is just that, talk. And I would add, counterproductive talk. Folks, loose talk about a war has incredibly negative consequences in our efforts to end Iran’s nuclear quest. And let me tell you why, because it unsettles world oil markets. It drives up oil prices. When oil prices go up, Iran’s coffers fill up, undermining the effect of the sanctions that are already in place. This type of Romney Talk is just not smart.
Romney’s foreign policy advisers — in a press call before Biden’s speech — seemed to inadvertently validate Biden’s charge of the Romney campaign’s “Cold War mindset.” Romney foreign policy adviser Pierre Prosper claimed that, under the Obama administration, “The United States abandoned its missile defense sites in Poland and Czechoslovakia” — of which the latter dissolved nearly 20 years ago after the fall of the U.S.S.R. And on the same call, another adviser, former Reagan Navy Secretary John Lehman, warned of a the threat from “the Soviets” in the Arctic region.