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ÜMİT ENGİNSOY

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ÜMİT ENGİNSOY > Can Netanyahu rescue Romney?

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ANKARA - Mitt Romney’s long-awaited vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan is a representative from Wisconsin. He is vilified by the Democrats as a “budget hawk,” prepared to do all evil to the American people through his financial responsibilities. But at least on paper, he might be a better pick than Vice President Joe Biden, a former senator. 
 
Compared to Biden, who is turning 70, Ryan is just 42 years old and is sure to energize the campaign of the 65-year-old Romney. The latter committed one of his gaffes announcing Ryan as “the next president of the United States.” Doing so, he implied that he would become the president but then be killed at some point doing his job. 
 
He was quick to correct himself but was ridiculous. Actually, Ryan is probably not the person to decide whether Romney becomes president. But there’s another person who can decide the Republican candidate’s fate, and it’s Israeli Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu. 
 
The two men, Netanyahu and Romney, have been quite close from early ages, and Romney visited Israel as part of his only tour to Europe and the region. Barack Obama and Netanyahu are archenemies, with Netanyahu constantly looking at his watch to see Obama as a one-term president. 
 
On the other side of the U.S. equation, he would possibly do anything to see Romney as the next U.S. president. The two are very close ideologically and he knows that Romney would do everything to support him when he becomes president. 
 
Now consider a worst-case scenario in which Netanyahu badly hits Iran, his existential enemy, which would force Obama to take sides with Israel. Obama, himself, has always disliked Netanyahu and the possibility that he may hit Iran in a unilateral decision. But he cannot stay away the situation, in the eyes of the U.S. public, and would in one way or another side with Israel in the face of Iranian attacks on their best friend in the region. 
 
A hit by Israel is what the Iranians also would love to see: being struck by its enemy at the worst time in history. The Iranian regime would not be toppled by this attack, and its nuclear arsenal would stay intact. They would love to see a situation in which their American enemies would be involved in a dramatic dilemma over Israel. 
 
Obama, despite his dislike for Netanyahu and his reluctance to stand by Israel, would definitely stand with Netanyahu. And in this case Romney would definitely call for a deadly strike on Iran. Consider the effect of this situation on international effects and the sympathy the United States has gathered through its stance on the Arabic Spring. 
 
In fact Netanyahu has the power to affect this U.S. election by striking Iran, shortly before the election. The effect of the strike on Iran would be unimportant compared to the election results. Romney would definitely be elected. 
 
The best would be for Netanyahu to stay clear of this kind of a risk to Israel and the U.S. election. But this is a possibility it can play in the region. In this way in return for taking a certain risk on Israel, he would get rid of the president he has hated the most in recent years and could replace him with someone he and his country mostly respect. 
 
Let’s hope that this kind of a situation does not take place. 
 
For Turkish-American Republicans one more word: Paul Ryan got the grades A-, A- and B from the Armenian National Committee of America for becoming a cosponsor to a number of the latest “Armenian genocide” resolutions. But he still is not considered one of the most cherished representatives.

August/16/2012

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