Rick Santorum Foreign Policy: Hawk on Iran

 
on February 08 2012 10:46 AM
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Rick Santorum stuck to domestic policy during a victory speech in Missouri on Tuesday night, lambasting President Barack Obama as someone who thinks he knows better and reprising his themes of faith and small government.

The former Pennsylvania senator, who surged back into relevancy with wins in Missouri, Colorado and Minnesota, has worked to position himself as the social values-centric conservative alternative to Mitt Romney. But he has also articulated a muscular foreign policy vision centered on his belief that radical Islam, particularly the Iranian regime, poses a dire threat to American security.

Santorum outlined those views in an editorial describing Iran and Syria as Islamic fascist regimes. He has compared Iran to Soviet Russia given its aggressive, expansionist ideology and its ambitions to extend its influence to other countries in the region, but he suggested a key difference: while a rational calculation prevented the Soviet Union from launching a nuclear strike, Iran would have no such qualms.

Russia was an atheistic enemy who didn't believe in an afterlife, Santorum wrote in November. In this case, history proves self destruction is no deterrent for Iran. In fact, the Islamists ruling Iran view dying for its cause will be rewarded in the afterlife.

That particular religious fanaticism makes Iran inherently violent and unpredictable, Santorum believes -- during a December debate, he said Iran is continually looking to attack us and to create a calamity because it is what their theology teaches. Because the Iranian regime is so unstable, Santorum has embraced every available option for preventing Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon.

Santorum: Aggressive Foreign Policy Stance

Vowing to thwart Iran's nuclear ambitions is not a unique position, but Santorum has embraced a highly aggressive approach. The United States has denied any involvement in a series of assassinations of Iranian nuclear scientists. While that does not mean America did not play a role, Santorum has said anyone affiliated with Iran's nuclear program should be treated like a terrorist.

I will say to any foreign scientist that's going into Iran to help on their nuclear program, you will be treated like an enemy combatant, like an al Qaeda member, Santorum said on Meet the Press.

While Obama has continued the policy of past administrations by saying a military option is on the table, Santorum has aligned himself with increasingly bellicose Israeli officials who are advocating a military strike. He has underscored the need work with Israel to determine the proper military response, including supporting targeted airstrikes on Iran's nuclear facilities.

If you attack the king you had better kill the king otherwise you will be in big trouble, Santorum said during a November town hall meeting in Anamosa, Iowa.

Santorum's hawkishness extends beyond Iran. He has joined other Republican candidates in criticizing Obama's timetable to withdraw troops from Afghanistan, saying it would compromise the gains made against the Taliban. He one-upped Mitt Romney's warning that we are already in a trade war with China, invoking martial language that seemed to conflate a currency battle with an armed conflict.

You know, Mitt, I don't want to go to a trade war, I want to beat China, Santorum said during an October debate. I want to go to war with China and make America the most attractive place in the world to do business.

Santorum was also a vocal supporter of the war in Iraq, denouncing Obama's decision to withdraw troops and suggesting that Iran would move in to fill the power vacuum. In 2006, he defended his support for the Iraq war by invoking the Lord of the Rings.

As the hobbits are going up Mount Doom, the Eye of Mordor is being drawn somewhere else, Santorum said. It's being drawn to Iraq and it's not being drawn to the U.S., he continued. You know what? I want to keep it on Iraq. I don't want the Eye to come back here to the United States.

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