Saturday, August 18, 2012

Will A Romney Win Result In War With Iran?

DBN Opinion Editorial by Sudhir Joshi

With less than 90 days left before the election, President Obama and Mitt Romney are trading rhetoric about the economy, jobs, and Medicare on the way to their respective conventions. But there is a much more ominous possibility to consider if Mitt Romney is elected president – war with Iran.

Imagine a freshly elected President Romney faced with a sluggish economy and mounting debt. And if Romney wins, that will more than likely mean a Republican majority in one or both houses of Congress. How does he create jobs and balance the budget?

Well, let’s start with taxes. We know Republicans cannot raise taxes to help lower the debt. Most Republicans have signed the Grover Norquist pledge and cannot break it. So raising taxes is out.

What about lowering taxes? Well, as much as there is talk of that, the Republicans aren’t stupid. The Bush tax cut is the primary cause of the debt today. They may extend the Bush tax cuts, but they cannot lower taxes any further with any hope of reducing the mounting debt.

So what about cutting spending? Well there are only 3 areas that are big enough parts of the budget that if they are cut, will really affect the debt – defense, social security, and Medicare. The Republicans will not cut defense because that would make them appear weak on national security. They already tried cutting social security during the Bush administration and that turned out to be very unpopular. So that leaves Medicare. It’s not called the third rail politics for nothing. Republicans know that cutting Medicare will give Democrats fuel to run on and lose them the 2014 mid-term election.

They’ve already seen this in a recent New York special election where Democrat, Kathy Hochul, defeated Republican, Jane Corwin, in a deeply Republican district running almost exclusively on the Medicare issue.

There’s another reason Republicans cannot cut spending – it will throw the country into recession. Every nonpartisan economist knows this. When the economy is weak, the government must be the spender of last resort. Cutting spending will increase unemployment and throw the country into recession – further jeopardizing the 2014 mid-term election and 2016 presidential election. Also, examples in UK, Spain, and Greece of serious spending cuts in recent years have resulted in recession in these countries and the Euro crisis we have today.

The final reason that Republicans cannot cut spending is that they’ve never done it. Reagan had a Republican majority in both houses for the first 6 years of his presidency. He ran on cutting government spending. But he raised taxes 11 times and doubled the debt.

George W Bush went even further. Running on the same ‘small government’ platform as Reagan, Bush promptly tripled the debt.

The Republicans talk about cutting spending but they have never done so. So don’t think they are stupid enough to believe their own rhetoric.

So what’s Romney to do once he is president. Here’s my prediction – war with Iran. After you stop laughing, hear me out. This idea has been implemented by Republicans before.

To distract the public from a struggling economy and his 11 tax raises, Reagan kept his rhetoric on the fear of the Soviet Union. Reagan increased defense spending resulting in one of the biggest military buildups in history. Then of course, Bush I continued that policy right into the first war with Iraq.

The attacks in 2001 on the World Trade Center gave the second Bush the same opportunity. Weapons of Mass Destruction were never found in Iraq. There was no proven connection between Iraq and Al Qaeda prior to the Iraq invasion in 2003. Still, Bush talked the public into a trillion dollar war and a second term while he tripled the debt.

Today, the Iranian regime is as demonized in the western press as was Sadam Hussein. While Iraq had no nuclear or biological weapons program, Iran actually does have a nuclear program. They claim it’s for peaceful, energy generation purposes. The west claims it is an attempt to build nuclear weapons. If Bush II can spin so little evidence of WMD into a trillion dollar 8- year war with Iraq, don’t you think Bush III (a.k.a. Romney) can make an even stronger argument for war with Iran?

And if you’re still not convinced, consider Romney’s biggest donor – Sheldon Adelson. This billionaire is putting over $30 million into the Romney campaign. Sheldon Adelson is a close ally of the biggest donor to Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel. Netanyahu is on the record as wanting to escalate, preemptively, a war with Iran and rhetoric is escalating. There is even pressure by Israel for the US to support a strike on Iran before the November election.

In 2003, Bush/Cheney talked the public and congress into a war with Iraq with the slimmest of evidence and no allies in the Middle East to help. Only the UK and Australia sent troops of any significant numbers. Unlike the war in 1993 (Desert Storm), Turkey, Saudi Arabia, etc. declined to participate although they did help with logistics.

In 2013, Bush III (Romney) will have a ready and willing Israel – a nuclear power and the world’s third largest military to help. He will have his biggest donor pushing him into war with Iran. He will also have a real nuclear program in Iran that he can spin into the ‘mushroom cloud’ argument. What better way to distract the public from a sluggish economy and mounting debt? And a war time president has always won re-election.

Therefore, a trillion dollar war with Iran is the most likely result of a Romney win.

Remember, you heard it here first.

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