It’s nearly time for postseason baseball, when, as the song goes: “And it’s one, two, three strikes you’re out.” But when it comes to foreign policy, Romney now has strike four.
Strike one was his ridiculous comment that Russia is America’s “No. I geopolitical foe.” Strike two was his much-derided trip to Britain, Israel and Poland, where he piled mistake on mistake. Strike Three—“Yerrr out!”—was his outrageous comment that President Obama “sympathizes” with armed Islamists who attacked the consulate in Benghazi.
Now, thanks to Mother Jones, we’ve seen Romney whiff at strike four, namely, his comments that the Palestinians don’t want peace and that Iran is run by “crazy people.” I’d say, You can’t make this stuff up, but apparently Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel does make it up and then feed it to Mitt Romney, who swallows it whole.
These aren’t just gaffes. These are the mumblings of a candidate so clueless about the world outside America’s borders that it’s impossible to imagine him sitting in the Oval Office. Sometimes politicians misspeak or make mistakes, but Romney’s foreign policy bungling is far more extreme than that. Outside of Switzerland and the Cayman Islands, it’s unclear that he knows anything at all about Europe, Asia, Africa and Latin America.
His comments about Iran—that it’s run by “crazy people”—contradict the views of many top US officials, experts and intelligence specialists and even Meir Dagan, the former head of Mossad, as Joe Cirincione catalogs in Foreign Policy. Here’s Mitt:
If I were Iran, if I were Iran—a crazed fanatic, I’d say let’s get a little fissile material to Hezbollah, have them carry it to Chicago or some other place, and then if anything goes wrong, or America starts acting up, we’ll just say, “Guess what? Unless you stand down, why, we’re going to let off a dirty bomb.” I mean this is where we have—where America could be held up and blackmailed by Iran, by the mullahs, by crazy people. So we really don’t have any option but to keep Iran from having a nuclear weapon.
Leave aside that President Obama, too, says that his policy is “to keep Iran from having a nuclear weapon.” Cirincione points out that a “dirty bomb” doesn’t use uranium but requires more deadly and more highly radioactive materials—meaning that if Ayatollah Khamenei does plant a dirty bomb in the United States he is indeed a “crazy person,” since it won’t work.
More devastatingly, Romney says that he got a call from a former secretary of state suggesting that it was possible to resolve the Israel-Palestine conflicts. Romney’s self-confessed response? “I didn’t delve into it.” He called it “wishful thinking.” And why? He said:
I look at the Palestinians not wanting to see peace anyway, for political purposes, committed to the destruction and elimination of Israel, and these thorny issues, and I say there’s just no way. And so what you do is you say you move things along the best way you can. You hope for some degree of stability, but you recognize that it’s going to remain an unsolved problem. I mean, we look at that in China and Taiwan. All right, we have a potentially volatile situation, but we sort of live with it. And we kick the ball down the field and hope that ultimately, somehow, something will happen and resolve.
That’s straight from the Israeli-Netanyahu playbook: the Palestinians are “not wanting to see peace.” And, according to Romney, “I have to tell ya, the idea of pushing on the Israelis?—to give something up, to get the Palestinians to act, is the worst idea in the world.”
Mitt Romney packs a lot of offensive remarks into his forty-nine minute fundraiser speech. Check out Ilyse Hogue’s take on the now-infamous “47 percent.”