It was a little hard to tell whether Mitt Romney was confident or confused in the foreign policy debate on Monday night. We saw the difference between a candidate’s campaign jabber and the knowledge of an experienced president. Side by side, one rings hollow and the other authentic.
Romney’s eagerness to pump up Pentagon spending and talk tough on Iran was especially unnerving, partly because he doesn’t know what he’s talking about. In addition, he’s turned to George W. Bush’s cronies for advice, a group that didn’t know what they were talking about either.
An article by Jim Lobe, Washington bureau chief for Inter Press Service, gives an analysis of a recent meeting at the Center for the National Interest on a potential war with Iran.
With its arsenal of ballistic and shorter-range missiles, Iran could easily take more than eight million barrels of oil a day off the world market by striking oil pipelines that lead to the gulf and the tankers that move the oil out of region. That could send the price of oil higher than $200 a barrel within days. Gasoline at the pump would hit $10 a gallon in a flash. And that’s just the beginning.
If Iran hit oil facilities in Qatar, Japan and South Korea’s energy supply could be flicked off like a switch.
It’s also quite possible that Iran’s nuclear facilities could survive a US-Israeli attack. And the US could discover that the economic cost of war with Iran could prove to be too much, and be forced to back down.
It’s likely that Obama already knows this.
Romney conceded in Monday's debate that Obama’s economic sanctions have shaken Iran's economy. His lack of the knowledge about the region is showing, and his reliance on advice from the Bush administration should be enough to send voters running in the opposite direction.