In the race between President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney, it is instructive to watch how each candidate for president behaves when the subject of Israel is mentioned. Every four years, citizens running for the highest office in this country feel duty-bound to show off their inexhaustible support for Israel, attempting to persuade the Israelis how, if elected, their approach toward Iran will increase pressure on the Islamic state. Mr. Romney stated on his recent visit to Israel that preventing Iran from obtaining nuclear capability should be America's "highest national security priority," stressing that "no option should be excluded" in the effort. Attempting to demonstrate a tougher stance than his adversary, he added that "we must not delude ourselves into thinking that containment is an option."
Voters need to recognize the faulty direction our country takes when dealing with the Middle East. Two candidates who claim they are fit to lead our country in a positive direction feel compelled to demonstrate to another country that we are willing to enter another war to make safe "one of the strongest countries in the world today." Attacking Iran is a horrendous idea that will result in consequences I do not think most citizens are prepared to face. It would potentially drown us in another conflict that could spread throughout that region, with Iran capable of attacking U.S bases there. A military strike against Iran's facilities cannot be limited to a single strike because its nuclear reactors are scattered throughout the country. If our goal is to halt Iran's enrichment program, engaging in diplomacy with Iran without appearing to be speaking on behalf of Israel will bear fruit for both countries.
The rhetoric and stance of both candidates toward the Middle East, particularly our favoritism for Israel in all cases and our aggressive behavior with ,Iran will continue to undermine stability in that region. Our nation cannot afford to fight another war against a country that does not present an immediate threat to our national security. I am amazed each presidential race to see candidates beat the drums of war toward Iran to prove which loves Israel more. This is exactly what Mr. Romney did when he visited Jerusalem, and President Obama will attempt to persuade the Israelis that his approach will be most effective. An attack sanctioned by any U.S. president can only be legitimate if the American people are willing to send their sons and daughters to fight that conflict.
In summary, voters must be observant regarding the behavior of candidates when the subject of Israel is mentioned. An attack against Iran is not in the interest of this country in any way because of the consequences that can unfold. Our country is being led in the wrong direction regarding its approach to the Middle East. A more balanced approach in our relations with the Arab world and Israel is needed if we ever wish to be perceived by people in the Middle East as a constructive player of peace.
Waseem Pharoan, LuthervilleCopyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun