Key Romney Advisers Advocate War With Iran

Yesterday, GOP presidential front runner Mitt Romney announced his campaign’s foreign policy team. While ThinkProgress pointed out that many of Romney’s advisers helped push the United States into war with Iraq, it might also be interesting to know what the former Massachusetts governor will be hearing from his top aides regarding Iran. Prominent neoconservative Robert Kagan, who is among Romney’s foreign policy advisers, has actually spoken out in favor of talking to Iran. However, that view is by far an outlier among Romney’s team. While some of them have tried to push the claim that Iran is working with al Qaeda, others have said or written that the U.S. should take a more militaristic approach toward the Islamic Republic:

ELIOT COHEN: Soon after the 9/11 attacks, Cohen, now director of the strategic studies program and Johns Hopkins University, called for the overthrow of the Iranian government. And that thinking doesn’t appear to have changed. In 2009, Cohen again called for the overthrow of the Iranian regime and said either attack Iran or it gets nukes. “The choices are now what they ever were: an American or an Israeli strike, which would probably cause a substantial war, or living in a world with Iranian nuclear weapons, which may also result in war, perhaps nuclear, over a longer period of time.”

MICHAEL HAYDEN: On CNN last year, former CIA director (and prominent torture advocate) Michael Hayden said attacking Iran over its nuclear program might not be a bad idea. “In my personal thinking — I need to emphasize that — I have begun to consider that that may not be the worst of all possible outcomes,” he said.

ERIC EDELMAN: Edelman was a career diplomat and former aid to Vice President Dick Cheney. Earlier this year in an article in Foreign Affairs, Edelman, along with two other co-authors, said that the U.S. will either have to attack Iran or contain its nuclear weapons capability. “The military option should not be dismissed because of the appealing but flawed notion that containment is a relatively easy or low-risk solution to a very difficult problem,” they wrote.

NORM COLEMAN: Coleman, the former Republican senator from Minnesota, said in 2007 that if Israel ever attacks Iran, the United States should join in. “If something is taken,” Coleman said, “the United States is going to be part of that. We have to understand that. There is no saying, ‘Israel did it.’”

KIM HOLMES: In 2005, the Heritage Foundation’s Kim Holmes worried that the Europeans, by negotiating with Iran over its nuclear program, might be preventing the U.S. from using military force to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons. Holmes called it a “serious mistake” to allow Iran to obtain the bomb because “Iran itself is simply too untrustworthy to be trusted with nuclear weapons.”

Holmes is referring to the hackneyed right-wing fearmongering talking point which CAP’s Matt Duss has labeled, “The martyr state myth.” The myth is that Iran is hell bent on using nuclear weapons, against Israel, the U.S., etc, should it acquire them and that Iran’s leaders are “uniquely immune to the cost-benefit calculations that underpin a conventional theory of deterrence.”


Today in his foreign policy speech at the Citadel military college in South Carolina, which happened to also be “full of ridiculous fear mongering,” Romney echoed this sentiment. “In the hands of the ayatollahs, a nuclear Iran is nothing less than an existential threat to Israel,” he said. “Iran’s suicidal fanatics could blackmail the world.”

Romney also said in his speech today that “Iran obtaining a nuclear weapon is unacceptable.” Now that we know how he will be advised on how to prevent that, it looks like Romney’s new American Century that he called for today, should he become president, is likely to turn out just like the last new American Century the neocons tried to create under the previous Republican president.