Foreign Policy

Huntsman Gets Serious on Iran!

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The Republican candidate who gets, in my judgment, a bit too much credit for being different in a non-bellicose way from his opponents on matters of foreign policy, gets very close to calling for pre-emptive war on Iran on CNN's Piers Morgan last night. month (Without ever saying the words, of course.)

As Think Progress sums up:

Huntsman's comment, which comes as the U.S. faces difficulty in gaining U.N. Security Council support for another round of even more punitive sanctions, is perhaps the most hawkish position taken by a GOP presidential candidate. His position removes the crucial caveat, which most Iran-hawks embrace, that military action should only be taken if sanctions fail….

[From the transcript]: You can layer sanction upon sanction and I think in the end the sanctions aren't going to have much of an impact. Sanctions have already been taken to the U.N. Security Council. You can go for another round of sanctions and that probably should be tried. You can go after their state bank. You can sanction the elite. You can sanction those travelling in and out. You can tighten the noose in ways that will make life a lot more difficult from an economic standpoint. But my sense is that their ultimate aspiration is to become a nuclear power, in which case sanctions probably aren't going to get you there. And that means [it's] likely we're going to have a conversation with Israel at some point. As we approach that point it's important for the United States to remind the world what it means to be a friend and ally of the United States….

The conclusion that a "conversation with Israel" is inevitable, would appear to be a reference to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's recent saber-rattling against Iran and the belief held by many Iran-hawks that if the U.S. doesn't act militarily against Iran, Israel will attack unilaterally.

I agree it's hard to read those last comments in any other way, in a world where everyone is (rightly) reluctant to say the words "We should start a war with Iran now" and yet want the world, and Iran, to think that they think that's exactly what we should do. 

The Huntsman speaketh: