The Weekly Standard’s Bill Kristol and the Foreign Policy Institute’s Jamie Fly this weekend penned an article calling on President Obama to ask Congress to authorize military force against Iran. The piece came just days after a Kristol-led pressure group unveiled a television ad pushing for war.
But Congress has already backed away from authorizing force and even GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney, despite his hawkish advisers, rebuffed the belligerent ask. Appearing on CBS’s Face the Nation on Sunday, Romney distanced himself from Kristol’s article:
ROMNEY: I don’t believe, at this stage, therefore, if I’m president, that we need to have a war powers approval or a special authorization for military force. The president has that capacity now.
[...W]e cannot survive a course of action which would include a nuclear Iran, and we must be willing to take any and all action. They must — all those actions must be on the table.
Watch the video:
One of Romney’s advisers — John Bolton — has has recently been pushing for war with Iran but outside of Romney’s militaristic rhetoric, his Iran policy is virtually indistinguishable from that laid out by Obama, including the president’s oft-repeated view that all options remain on the table to deal with a potential Iranian nuclear weapon.
And despite Kristol’s insistence that even if Obama doesn’t ask for an authorization for military force, “Congress can act without such a request,” such a move would be moot: Congress, in each chamber in the past month, overwhelming passed bills specifically repudiating the notion of authorizing force. The Senate passed a new round of U.S. sanctions in Iran in a bill that included language explicitly stating, “[N]othing in this Act shall be construed as authorizing the use of force against Iran.” And the house passed the 2013 defense authorization with an amendment stating the same thing.
A potential Iranian nuclear weapon is widely considered a threat to both the security of the U.S. and its allies in the region, as well as the nuclear non-proliferation regime. U.S., U.N. and Israeli intelligence estimates give the West time to pursue a dual-track approach of pressure and diplomacy to resolve the crisis. Questions about the efficacy and potential consequences of a strike have led U.S. officials to declare that diplomacy is the “best and most permanent way” to resolve the crisis.
But that measured take doesn’t satisfy Kristol, who has been at odds with the Romney during the campaign. As editor of the Weekly Standard and head of the Emergency Committee For Israel and Foreign Policy Initiative, Kristol can make a lot of noise but it seems that no one is heeding his advice.