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01-23-07

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Excerpts from Governor Mitt Romney's Remarks at the Seventh Annual Herzliya Conference

Tuesday, Jan 23, 2007

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CONTACT: Kevin Madden (857) 288-6390

 

Herzliya, Israel - Today, Governor Mitt Romney will make remarks at the Seventh Annual Herzliya Conference on the nature of threat posed by Iran and the actions necessary to address this threat.

 

To see Governor Romney's speech live beginning at 8:20 a.m. EST, please click here:

 

http://web11.mediazone.co.il/media/idc/LIVE/20070121/?logo=6&lang=eng

 

Governor Romney's Five Step Plan Of Action To Prevent A Nuclear Iran:

 

" First, we must continue tighten economic sanctions. Our model should be at least as severe to the sanctions imposed on Apartheid South Africa. We should demand no less from the international community today ...

 

"We must also be imaginative in the way we pressure Iran economically - an issue I have been looking into. In my meetings this week in Israel, I have become aware of the potential of U.S. pension funds to further isolate the Iranian economy. We should explore a selective disinvestment policy. After a series of briefings here, I have contacted the Treasurer of my own state of Massachusetts and Governors of other states to begin this process by meeting today with senior Israeli leaders in Boston.

 

" Second, we must impose diplomatic isolation of Iran's Government. Ahmadinejad should not be provided the trappings, respect, and recognition of a responsible head of state as he travels. In fact, when former Iranian President Khatami traveled to Boston last year to lecture at Harvard University, I denied him state police security for his visit. The real question is: why was he invited in the first place? Ahmadinejad is even more strident than Khatami. He should neither be invited to foreign capitals nor feted by foreign leaders. This would have important symbolic significance, not just to Ahmadinejad, but to the people of Iran.

 

"Diplomatic isolation should also include an indictment of Ahmadinejad for incitement to genocide under the Genocide Convention. The United States should lead this effort.

 

"The full title of the Genocide Convention is the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide. Remember that word: Prevention.

 

"Article III of that treaty establishes that 'public incitement to commit genocide' is a punishable crime. Every signatory to this treaty, including the U.S. and most European countries, shares an obligation to enforce it. So do human rights groups that care about international humanitarian law.

 

"Nobel Prize Winner Elie Wiesel, and human rights advocate and former Canadian Justice Minister Irwin Cotler have spoken out on this issue.

 

"In addition, former U.S. Ambassador John Bolton has been a forceful advocate for this effort, and is joined by Alan Dershowitz. If these two can agree, they must be on to something.

 

" Third, Arab states must join this effort to prevent a nuclear Iran. These states can do much more than wring their hands and urge America to act. They should support Iraq's nascent government, They can help America focus on Iran by quickly turning down the temperature of the Arab-Israeli conflict - stopping the financial and weapons flows to Hamas and Hizbullah ... thawing relations with Israel ... and telling the Palestinians they must drop terrorism and recognize Israel's right to exist.

 

" Fourth, we must make it clear that while nuclearization may be a source of pride, it can also be a source of peril. The military option remains on the table. And further, nuclear material that falls into the hands of terrorists would surely provoke a devastating response from the civilized world.

 

" Fifth, our strategy should be integrated into a broader approach to the broader Muslim world. I agree with our friend, former Prime Minister Aznar of Spain, that a central purpose of NATO should be to defeat radical Islam. I believe this has two critical dimensions. The first is an unquestionably capable military. This will mean a greater investment by the United States as well as other nations. The second is a global partnership which includes NATO and other allies. Its mission would be to support progressive Muslim communities and leaders in every nation where radical Islam is battling modernity and moderation. This Partnership for Prosperity should help provide the tools and funding necessary for moderates to win the debate in their own societies. They need secular public schools, micro credit and banking, the rule of law, adequate healthcare, human rights, and competitive economic policies. In the final analysis, only Muslims will be able to permanently defeat radical Islam. And we can help."

 

Other Key Excerpts Of Governor Romney's Remarks As Prepared For Delivery:

 

"And on Iraq, I would just like to make another point. Some Congressional leaders in the United States today are arguing that the President is not authorized to allow our forces to pursue Iranian elements inside Iraq - which are attacking our own troops. That would be folly."

 

Mitt Romney Herzliya Conference Speech

January 23, 2007

 

Thank you Ron Lauder for that introduction. And thank you for what you do – and to you Uzi Arad as well – to make this important conference happen. It’s good to be at the Herzliya Conference this afternoon. It’s been a busy day. I saw the sunrise in Jerusalem. And along with friends, I traveled to the Gaza border, from there wechoppered up to the Lebanese border. And now here.I am glad to be in Israel again. It has been about 10 years since my last visit and I am struck by how much has changed. The economy is booming. As someone who spent most of my career in business, I have great respect for the ingenuity and resilience of Israel’s workers and entrepreneurs.


 

But the changes are not only economic and they are not only positive.


 

And it is not just Israel that has changed in the past decade, but the world around us. Unfortunately, many have not fully caught up with the new strategic paradigm we face.In that old world, the Arab-Israeli conflict was thought of as just another intractable regionalconflict. One that drags on…that should be resolved…but is not part of a global threat to theworld order.9/11 changed that perspective. Or it should have. Contrary to the Baker-Hamilton Commission, resolving the Arab-Israeli conflict will not magically mollify the jihadists. No, what we should have realized since 9/11 is that what the world regarded as an Israeli-Arab conflict over borders represented something much larger. It was the oldest, most active front of the radical Islamist jihad against the entire West. It therefore was not really aboutborders. It was about the refusal of many parts of the Muslim world to accept Israel's right toexist – within any borders.

 

This distinction came into vivid focus this summer. The war in Lebanon had little to do with thePalestinians. And it had nothing to do with a two-state solution. It demonstrated that Israel isnow facing a jihadist front that from Tehran through Damascus to Southern Lebanon andGaza.As Tony Blair astutely put it, Hizbullah was not fighting “for the coming into being of a Palestinian state...but for the going out of being of an Israeli state."

 

Yet we have still not fully absorbed the magnitude of the change. As far as our enemies areconcerned, there is just one conflict. And in this single conflict, the goal of destroying Israel issimply a way station toward the real goal of subjugating the entire West.Jihadism -- violent radical Islamic fundamentalism -- has emerged as this century’s nightmare. It follows the same dark path as last century’s horrors: fascism and Soviet-styled communism.In my country, the attack by Al Queda has led some to believe that we are threatened by aband of fanatics in the mountains of Afghanistan and Pakistan. They imagine that if we couldonly get Bin Laden and his cohorts, all this unpleasantness could be over.But Jihadism is much, much more.

 

Jihadists are among Shia and Sunni, promoted by Hamasand Hizbollah and the Muslim Brotherhood, financed by knowing and unknowing Muslimgovernments, and preached to hundreds of millions in many nations. Their goal is theoverthrow of moderate Muslim states and their replacement by a caliphate. Their strategy isthe collapse of the economy, the government, and the military of America and our friends.To their eyes, our destruction is not delusional, but possible.In my country, the focus has been on Iraq, which is understandable. We have some 140,000 men and women there, with more on the way. And we are suffering casualties. Indeed, the past few days have been especially painful for the United States. Thousands of American families continue to make the greatest sacrifice for security in Iraq. And for whatever the mistakes made and the challenges before us, we must remain committed to making everyeffort for success there.And on Iraq, I would just like to make another point. Some Congressional leaders in theUnited States today are arguing that the President is not authorized to allow our forces topursue Iranian elements inside Iraq – which are attacking our own troops. That would be folly.

 

But today, I wish to focus on the regime that has become the heart of the Jihadist threat - Iran. I believe that Iran’s leaders and ambitions represent the greatest threat to the world sincethe fall of the Soviet Union, and before that, Nazi Germany.

 

Ahmadinejad has gone well beyond the boundary of outrage…beginning with his calculateddesecration of history. Indeed, when he denies the Holocaust, he could care less about history– his point is about the present and the future. His purpose is not to deny the Holocaust, but todeny Israel. He is testing the waters. He wants to know who will object. And how they willregister their objection.The Iranian regime threatens not only Israel, but also every other nation in the region, andultimately the world. And that threat would take on an entirely new dimension if Iran were allowed to become a nuclear power. And just think of the signal a nuclear Iran would send toother rogue regimes with nuclear ambitions – this could be a tipping point in the developmentand proliferation of nuclear regimes. How should the civilized world approach this challenge?

 

Our first goal should be to dispense with three major schools of wishful thinking:The first school concedes that Iran must not be allowed to go nuclear. But that's where thecertitude ends. Beyond that recognition, there is only the hope that Iran’s weakeningeconomy and political rivalries will yield a change in the government’s leadership. We are all hopeful, but this is not a strategy. The second assumes that it is possible to live with a nuclear Iran. This thinking is based onthe theory that Iran, once granted the privilege of joining the nuclear club, will be aresponsible actor.

 

Neither their words nor their record justify this conclusion. The third school believes that the logic of deterrence, which served us through the Cold War,will apply to Iran. But for all of the Soviets’ deep flaws, they were never suicidal. A Sovietcommitment to national survival was never in question. This assumption simply cannot bemade about an irrational regime that celebrates martyrdom.Each of these three represents a rationale for inaction, rather than a strategy for success.Each would in all likelihood yield the same result – an Iran that is nuclear armed, threateningthe world, or worse. They should be rejected. And they should be replaced with anunderstanding of two fundamental realities:

 

1) Iran must stopped;

 

2) Iran can be stopped.

 

It is inconceivable to me that some think otherwise. Their view must be based ondisbelief…disbelief that Iran’s regime means what it says.Few believed that Hitler meant when he called for the destruction of the Jewish people in Mein Kampf. Few believed what Osama bin Laden said.

 

The 9/11 Commission found numerous failures – failures of intelligence, of coordination, andof analysis. But they found that the most critical failure was what they called a “failure ofimagination.” Americans simply could not believe that people would crash airplanes full ofinnocent people into buildings full of innocent people.


 

Since that happened, can we really dismiss horrific threats as mere rhetoric? A nuclear Iran is unacceptable because, as Defense Secretary Robert Gates pointed out inhis confirmation hearings, we have no way of guaranteeing that Iran will not use a nuclearweapon. Many people do understand that Iran must be stopped, but they do not believe it is possible. They see the modest sanctions that the UN took three years to produce. They see Russia refusing to end its cooperation with Iran's nuclear program. They conclude that the UNSecurity Council will never produce sanctions tough enough – and soon enough - to stop Iran.

 

What is less appreciated is what the US and Europe can do. Yes, we should continue toencourage China and Russia to work with us on the UN Security Council. And from mymeetings in Israel over the past few days, and in China two months ago, I have reason to bemore optimistic about the role China could play.But we must not sit idle while we wait for cooperation: The US and Europe can do much toexploit the Iranian regime’s vulnerabilities.


 

In considering our strategy, we must remember that the government and the clerics arenot the sole center of power. The people of Iran also represent a major source of power. Byand large, they have not been radicalized by their government and clerics. They feareconomic stagnation and political repression. Most are not seeking a military confrontationwith the West. Indeed, most want greater engagement with the West - there’s a reason, for example, that there are more than 75,000 bloggers active in Iran today. A successfulstrategy should consider and encompass the people of Iran, as well as their leaders. In my view, our strategy to stop Iran should include the following five dimensions:

 

First, we must continue tighten economic sanctions. Our model should be at least as severeto the sanctions imposed on Apartheid South Africa. We should demand no less from theinternational community today.The Bush Administration deserves credit for the efforts it has made on the economic trackthus far. The Administration’s campaign to deny Iran access to the international bankingsystem is crucial. The United States and Europe must ensure that Iran is unable to obtaincredit. And we must ensure that Iranian purchases in foreign currencies become difficult or impossible.

 

We must also be imaginative in the way we pressure Iran economically – an issue I havebeen looking into. In my meetings this week in Israel, I have become aware of the potential ofUS pension funds to further isolate the Iranian economy. We should explore a selective disinvestment policy. After a series of briefings here, I have contacted the Treasurer of my own state of Massachusetts and Governors of other states to begin this process by meetingtoday with senior Israeli leaders in Boston.

 

Second, we must impose diplomatic isolation of Iran’s Government. Ahmadinejad should notbe provided the trappings, respect, and recognition of a responsible head of state as hetravels. In fact, when former Iranian President Khatami traveled to Boston last year to lectureat Harvard University, I denied him state police security for his visit. The real question is: why was he invited in the first place? Ahmadinejad is even more strident than Khatami. He should neither be invited to foreign capitals nor feted by foreign leaders. This would haveimportant symbolic significance, not just to Ahmadinejad, but to the people of Iran.Diplomatic isolation should also include an indictment of Ahmadinejad for incitement togenocide under the Genocide Convention. The United States should lead this effort.

 

The full title of the Genocide Convention is the Convention on the Prevention andPunishment of the Crime of Genocide. Remember that word: Prevention.Article III of that treaty establishes that “public incitement to commit genocide” is apunishable crime. Every signatory to this treaty, including the U.S. and most Europeancountries, shares an obligation to enforce it. So do human rights groups that care aboutinternational humanitarian law.Nobel Prize Winner Elie Wiesel, and human rights advocate and former Canadian JusticeMinister Irwin Cotler have spoken out on this issue.In addition, former U.S. Ambassador John Bolton has been a forceful advocate for this effort, and is joined by Alan Dershowitz. If these two can agree, they must be on to something.

 

Third, Arab states must join this effort to prevent a nuclear Iran. These states can do muchmore than wring their hands and urge America to act. They should support Iraq’s nascentgovernment, They can help America focus on Iran by quickly turning down the temperatureof the Arab-Israeli conflict -- stopping the financial and weapons flows to Hamas andHizbullah…thawing relations with Israel…and telling the Palestinians they must dropterrorism and recognize Israel’s right to exist.

 

Fourth, we must make it clear that while nuclearization may be a source of pride, it can alsobe a source of peril. The military option remains on the table. And further, nuclear materialthat falls into the hands of terrorists would surely provoke a devastating response from thecivilized world.

 

Fifth, our strategy should be integrated into a broader approach to the broader Muslim world.I agree with our friend, former Prime Minister Aznar of Spain, that a central purpose of NATO should be to defeat radical Islam. I believe this has two critical dimensions. The first is anunquestionably capable military. This will mean a greater investment by the United States aswell as other nations. The second is a global partnership which includes NATO and otherallies. Its mission would be to support progressive Muslim communities and leaders in every nation where radical Islam is battling modernity and moderation. This Partnership for Prosperity should help provide the tools and funding necessary for moderates to win the debate in their own societies. They need secular public schools, micro credit and banking,the rule of law, adequate healthcare, human rights, and competitive economic policies. In thefinal analysis, only Muslims will be able to permanently defeat radical Islam. And we canhelp.

 

We should remember that in the two other global confrontations with totalitarianism in thepast century, it was not always obvious that the West would prevail. Indeed, in these conflicts, the balance of power was not always in the West’s favor. Those were wars we could have lost, but did not.

 

In the current conflict, the balance of forces is not nearly as dangerously close as it wasduring moments of World War II and the Cold War. There is no comparison between the economic, diplomatic, and military resources of the West and the handful of weak terrorist states that threaten us. In the previous global wars, there were many ways to lose, and victory was far fromguaranteed. In the current conflict, there is only one way to lose, and that is if we as acivilization decide not to lift a finger to defend ourselves, our values, and our way of life.

 

It is time for the world to plainly speak three truths:

 

One, Iran must be stopped.

 

Two, Iran can be stopped.

 

And three, Iran will be stopped.

 

Thank you.

 

Posted by Scott at 09:14 AM

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