One question from moderator Bob Schieffer in the third presidential debate was somewhat interesting and the answer given by Mitt Romney was very startling. This is the exchange I am referring to:
What if — what if the prime minister of Israel called you on the phone and said: Our bombers are on the way. We’re going to bomb Iran. What do you say?
Bob, let’s not go into hypotheticals of that nature.
Romney essentially dodged the idea of this question (along with Obama, in all fairness) but we should ask: is that a good thing? It would seem the answer is no when considering history.
A president, or any leader of an organization for that matter, should be ready for the unexpected, particularly the negative and disastrous kind of unexpected. Pondering hypothetical situations is part of the job and the person in charge should be taking time to do this so they are actually ready in case these things happen. Asking what the response would be to an Israeli attack on Iran is worthy of our time and both presidential candidates should have a reasonable response to this inquiry.
And the reason being prepared for these hypothetical situations matters? Has anyone forgotten this quote from the recent past: “the most important failure was one of imagination.” No one should have trouble remembering this finding from the 9/11 Commission Report. The problem here is the guy running to be president apparently has forgotten one of the failures that led to those terrorist attacks.
To some extent, the president is one man and is not capable of considering every unexpected scenario in every area of the world the government touches. However, the question asked was not exactly out of left field. It’s not as if the Israel-Iran situation has not been in the works for an extended period of time and it has also been one of the most important foreign policy issues of this entire presidential campaign.
Being incapable of even broaching this question as the guy wanting to be in charge of the country is…well, questionable. We can only hope that if Romney is given the job of president and is presented with this situation, he will have a better answer ready for reality.