via Lobe Log

Author and senior editor at the Atlantic Robert Wright has a knack for highlighting important Iran policy-related statements made by leading U.S. politicians. Here he is clearing up any confusion about Mitt Romney’s “red line” on Iran when compared to that of President Obama after Peter Baker of the New York Times wrote that they aren’t that different. (Of course, as Paul Pillar has noted, the President’s red line isn’t exactly something to gloat about since it practically commits the U.S. to a disastrous war that would be far worse than living with a nuclear-armed Iran if the Islamic Republic did indeed make the decision to take the plunge):

Some people are trying to find signs of moderation in Romney’s reference to his “fervent hope” that “diplomatic and economic measures” will succeed. But the fact is that by making the mushy-to-the-point-of-useless term “capability” the red line (or red blur), he has empowered Israel to say at any point, “Sorry, but diplomatic and economic measures have failed; the bombs were dropped this morning.”

I agree with Peter Baker that there aren’t many clear differences between Obama and Romney on foreign policy. But now we do have at least one: Romney says Israel can bomb Iran any time it wants and America will be happy to inherit the blowback. Obama doesn’t say that. I’d call that a difference of doctrinal proportions.