Si vis pacem, para bellum. That is a Latin phrase, but the ayatollahs will have no trouble understanding its meaning from a Romney administration: If you want peace, prepare for war.
I want peace. And if I am president, I will begin by imposing a new round of far tougher economic sanctions on Iran. I will do this together with the world if we can, unilaterally if we must. I will speak out forcefully on behalf of Iranian dissidents. I will back up American diplomacy with a very real and very credible military option. I will restore the regular presence of aircraft carrier groups in the Mediterranean and the Persian Gulf region simultaneously. I will increase military assistance to Israel and coordination with all of our allies in the region. These actions will send an unequivocal signal to Iran that the United States, acting in concert with allies, will never permit Iran to obtain nuclear weapons.
Only when the ayatollahs no longer have doubts about America's resolve will they abandon their nuclear ambitions. - Mitt Romney
There is some evidence to support the argument that Iran will only change course if it feels legitimately threatened, but consider the evidence: in 2003, shortly after the U.S. invasion of Iraq, Iran sent feelers out to the Bush administration to begin talks. In other words, just to get the negotiations rolling, the U.S. had to invade another country. That's a pretty high bar!
This suggests that none of Romney's proposed measures could really do the trick, which begs a critical question: what is he willing to do next? Multiple U.S. administrations have declared that a nuclear Iran is unacceptable, and yet none have been willing to use force against Iran to stop it. Surely Iran's leadership is slowly being conditioned to think that such threats are hollow - whether coming from a Republican or Democrat.
To make Romney's "si vis pacem, para bellum" strategy work, you have to actually be willing to go to war - otherwise, you run the risk of having your bluff called. Is Romney willing to do this? Someone ought to ask him.