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24 Hours, Bulgaria

Ohio Versus Tehran

By Christofer Karadjov

In the battle for Ohio, who cares about Tehran?

Translated By Mila Alexandrova

24 October 2012

Edited by Lau­ren Gerken

Bulgaria - 24 Hours - Original Article (Bulgarian)

For a very long time, Democrats have been trying to make American voters believe that if Mitt Romney assumes the presidency, he would be nothing but the reincarnation of George W. Bush – in other words, a reckless war instigator in bed with the rich.

On the other hand, the Republicans have been looking for means to prove to the electorate that Barack Obama is a weak leader and helpless before the forces of foreign evil, much like Jimmy Carter during the hostage crisis in Tehran in 1979-1981. However, in the last presidential debate, which was dedicated to foreign policy, the current president was much more hawkish than his predecessor. Romney was almost ready to embrace the Nobel Peace Prize wrongfully awarded to Barack Obama in 2009.

In fact, Obama’s aggressive manner of chasing down terrorists around the world caught both the left and conservatives by surprise. The unprecedented use of unmanned aircraft for the direct elimination of America’s enemies has been controversial. “Welcome to the Drone Age,” a special report from the highly respected foreign policy source globalpost.com, reveals more on the subject. If you want to know how the American president decides who will live and who will die, take a look at “Secret ‘Kill List’ Proves a Test of Obama's Principles and Will” at nytimes.com (published May, 2012).

At the very beginning of the third debate, Romney threw out one of his most memorable lines: “We can't kill our way out of this mess.” In other words, the U.S. can’t solve the problem of terrorism by killing terrorists. In the long run, I doubt Obama’s opinion differs. But for now, the “hawk” method works perfectly. The American public likes hearing about the about the terrorists eliminated in Yemen and strongly dislikes hearing about how close the Times Square bomber was to success. That’s why the Guantanamo Bay camp is still open despite the presidential campaign promises of 2008. Strategy over tactics.

As for Romney, the “peacemaker,” his foreign policy ideas are vague because he lacks experience and a clear ideology. During the previous presidential campaign, Obama was an outspoken liberal, almost a pacifist, who later transformed into a pragmatic hawk. Romney’s running mate, Paul Ryan, is also not on top of foreign issues. During the vice presidential debate, Ryan depicted Iran as being governed by crazed ayatollahs. President Ahmadinejad may love to play the jester before the United Nations’ General Assembly, but Tehran’s actions have a clear logic. Cartoons of white-bearded, turban-wearing Iranian leaders don’t show the whole picture.

Iran is one of the few foreign policy issues that has managed to keep the voters’ attention. In key states like Florida and Ohio, between two-thirds and three-fourths of respondents asked, defined the issue of whether Iran develops a nuclear bomb as “very important.” So on Monday, Obama made a speech reassuring his constituency that he will not allow Iran to become a nuclear power.

During the debate, the presidential candidates mentioned Israel 34 times. Obama announced his determination to support the Jewish state. This position is not only the fruit of geopolitical planning; the President needs a four-to-one proportion of Jewish votes against Romney.

At the end of the day, the Jan. 20 victor won’t be determined by international politics. Based on the specifics of the American electoral system, the votes of no more than 100 of the overall more than 3,000 counties in the U.S. will likely determine the next president. This super concentration of electoral power almost guarantees a crisis. For example, it is quite possible that the candidate with overall votes could lose the elections, just as in 2000. A scandal is already on the horizon with regard to voting machines: Key regions of Ohio will be using voting machines supplied by a company whose owners are Romney donors.

Who cares about Tehran when Ohio is at stake?



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