US Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney is accusing President Barack Obama of downplaying the significance of the Iranian nuclear threat, and calling for improved relations with Israel.
In an opinion piece published Sunday in the Wall Street Journal, Romney discussed the American policy toward the Middle East. He began his op-ed by reviewing the "disturbing developments" sweeping across the Middle East.
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tens of thousands of innocent people have been slaughtered.
the Muslim Brotherhood
has come to power, and the country's peace treaty with Israel hangs in the balance. In Libya, our ambassador was murdered
in a terrorist attack. US embassies throughout the region have been stormed in violent protests.
And in Iran,
the ayatollahs continue to move full tilt toward nuclear-weapons capability, all the while promising to annihilate Israel."
According to Romney, "these developments are not, as President Obama says, mere 'bumps in the road.' They are major issues that put our security at risk."
The Republican candidate wrote that amid this upheaval, the United States "seems to be at the mercy of events rather than shaping them… If the Middle East descends into chaos, if Iran moves toward nuclear breakout, or if Israel's security is compromised, America could be pulled into the maelstrom."
'Obama dismissed Israel's concerns as noise' (Photo: AP)
Romney determined in his WSJ article that there was a need for a new American strategy toward the Middle East.
"By failing to maintain the elements of our influence and by stepping away from our allies, President Obama has heightened the prospect of conflict and instability. He does not understand that an American policy that lacks resolve can provoke aggression and encourage disorder… He seeks to downplay the significance of the calamities of the past few weeks."
As he lags behind Obama in polls, the presidential hopeful argued that the current president "downgraded Israel from being our 'closest ally' in the Middle East to being only 'one of our closest allies.'
"It's a diplomatic message that will be received clearly by Israel and its adversaries alike. He dismissed Israel's concerns about Iran as mere 'noise' that he prefers to 'block out.' And at a time when Israel needs America to stand with it, he declined to meet with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu."
Romney went on to detail the steps that he believes should be taken in order to restore the American deterrence ability in the Middle East in general, and against Iran in particular.
"This means restoring our credibility with Iran. When we say an Iranian nuclear-weapons capability – and the regional instability that comes with it – is unacceptable, the ayatollahs must be made to believe us. It means placing no daylight between the United States and Israel…
"But this Middle East policy will be undermined unless we restore the three sinews of our influence: Our economic strength, our military strength and the strength of our values. That will require a very different set of policies from those President Obama is pursuing."