Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), reportedly a frontrunner in Mitt Romney’s running mate selection process, last week during a talk at the Council on Foreign Relations hoped that he wouldn’t make news as calling for war with Iran. “I don’t want to come across as some sort of saber-rattling person,” Rubio said, claiming, “I am in line with what the administration has said.” The Florida Republican later added that he doesn’t “want the headlines from here to be, you know, Rubio says let’s hit them now.”
Moments later though, Rubio said Americans need to starting thinking about it:
RICHARD STENGEL (Moderator): But you would — just to be straight about it — but you would sanction a strike before you would tolerate a nuclear Iran?
RUBIO: Yes and I think that we need to begin to prepare people for that. See, I think that the — not just the people of the country, but the people of the world appreciate when their leaders walk them through this process and explain this is what we’re working on, and more importantly, these are the stakes of a nuclear Iran.
Watch the clip:
However, there’s one potential problem with this scenario: an attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities may not prevent the Islamic Republic from deciding to build, and eventually acquire, nuclear weapons. “A strike could accelerate the procurement of the bomb. An attack isn’t enough to stop the project,” Meir Dagan, Israel’s former top intelligence chief said last week. The former head of Israel’s internal security service also shares this view. Dagan has also said that an attack would only delay Iran’s nuclear program, not end it, a view that is also shared by Defense Secretary Leon Panetta.
This major caveat means that Rubio’s stance doesn’t quite line up with the Obama administration’s Iran policy, as he said it does. The Obama administration views a potential Iranian nuclear weapon as a serious threat and has said that it keeps all options on the table in trying to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons — including military force. However, U.S. officials have said that diplomacy is the “best and most permanent way” to resolve the crisis.
At the very least, Rubio is somewhat correct in that he’s not doing so much saber rattling on Iran as some of his Republican colleagues. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) reportedly predicted this weekend that he is sure there will be a military strike on Iran later this summer in what he called “an air and sea campaign from hell.”