Thursday, January 25, 2007

Romney on Iran

On Tuesday, Governor Mitt Romney addressed The Seventh Annual Herzliya Conference in Israel. It was one of his first prominent Foreign Policy speeches. He was the only probable presidential candidate to attend the conference and make his speech in person (others addressed the group by satellite). In the speech, he outlined his ideas on Iran:

Governor Romney's Five Step Plan of Action to Prevent a Nuclear Iran: (as prepared)

"First, we must continue [to] tighten economic sanctions. Our model should be at least as severe to the sanctions imposed on Apartheid South Africa. We should demand no less from the international community today…. (…)

"Second, we must impose diplomatic isolation of Iran's Government. Ahmadinejad should not be provided the trappings, respect, and recognition of a responsible head of state as he travels. In fact, when former Iranian President Khatami traveled to Boston last year to lecture at Harvard University, I denied him state police security for his visit. The real question is: why was he invited in the first place? Ahmadinejad is even more strident than Khatami. He should neither be invited to foreign capitals nor feted by foreign leaders. This would have important symbolic significance, not just to Ahmadinejad, but to the people of Iran. (…)

"Third, Arab states must join this effort to prevent a nuclear Iran. These states can do much more than wring their hands and urge America to act. They should support Iraq's nascent government. They can help America focus on Iran by quickly turning down the temperature of the Arab-Israeli conflict – stopping the financial and weapons flows to Hamas and Hizbullah…thawing relations with Israel…and telling the Palestinians they must drop terrorism and recognize Israel's right to exist.

"Fourth, we must make it clear that while nuclearization may be a source of pride, it can also be a source of peril. The military option remains on the table. And further, nuclear material that falls into the hands of terrorists would surely provoke a devastating response from the civilized world.

"Fifth, our strategy should be integrated into a broader approach to the broader Muslim world. I agree with our friend, former Prime Minister Aznar of Spain, that a central purpose of NATO should be to defeat radical Islam. I believe this has two critical dimensions. The first is an unquestionably capable military. This will mean a greater investment by the United States as well as other nations. The second is a global partnership which includes NATO and other allies. Its mission would be to support progressive Muslim communities and leaders in every nation where radical Islam is battling modernity and moderation. This Partnership for Prosperity should help provide the tools and funding necessary for moderates to win the debate in their own societies. They need secular public schools, micro credit and banking, the rule of law, adequate healthcare, human rights, and competitive economic policies. In the final analysis, only Muslims will be able to permanently defeat radical Islam. And we can help."

He concluded his speech saying:

“In those previous global wars, there were many ways to lose, and victory was far from guaranteed. In the current conflict, there's only one way to lose, and that is if we as a civilization decide not to lift a finger to defend ourselves, our values, and our way of life.

“It is time for the world to plainly speak three truths:

One, Iran must be stopped.

Two, Iran can be stopped.

“And three, Iran will be stopped. [Applause]

“Thank you so much.”

In response to the speech Ronald Lauder, former US Ambassador to Austria, said:

"I just want to say that you have heard one of the most comprehensive, direct, clear strategies on Iran. I must say I have heard many different statements on Iran. This was as good as it gets, as straight as it gets, and I for one am very, very much impressed. I think Governor Mitt Romney has it all together."

You can watch the conclusion on video here.

This is truly one of the best Iran policy speeches I have heard… from anybody (let alone an exploratory candidate. I liked it.

That is all.


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