Rick Santorum — Iran Man

Rick Santorum, who wrested some momentum from Mitt Romney this week by winning primary contests in Colorado, Minnesota, and Missouri, likes to cast himself as something of an expert on Iran, which has arguably become the top foreign-policy issue in the campaign. From making clear that he’d take care of Iran’s nuclear problem if Tehran refuses to do so to warning of jihadists lurking in the Gulf of Mexico — he’s not shy about his obsession with the Iranian threat, or his hawkish stance.

In a November radio ad, for example, the Republican presidential contender asserted that he was the only GOP candidate discussing the Iranian threat. “Even Newt Gingrich said ‘no one has done more than Santorum to alert America to the dangers posed by Iran,'” the narrator crowed. Santorum’s campaign website boasts that he “has recognized the looming threat of Iran’s nuclear ambitions for nearly a decade — standing tall against both Republicans and Democrats who have discounted and dismissed the reality that this radical theocracy is intent on destroying Israel and Western civilization.” Forget “nearly a decade” — in Iowa, he told voters, “I spent ten years focused like a laser beam when I was in the Senate on the country of Iran.”

There may be no better window into Santorum’s views on Iran than his writings as a fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center (EPPC) — a position he held between losing his Pennsylvania Senate seat in 2006 and entering the presidential race in June 2011. He joined the Washington, D.C.-based think tank, which aims to apply the “Judeo-Christian moral tradition to critical issues of public policy,” back in 2007 to establish and direct the “America’s Enemies” program — an initiative that, unlike America’s adversaries, folded after Santorum’s departure, according to the EPPC. And, for Santorum, Iran was Public Enemy No. 1. “I know that I’m not the foremost scholar in the world, but I can offer a lot of ideas,” he told National Review as he settled in at the think tank.

So, just what were those ideas, and how do they compare to Santorum’s rhetoric on the campaign trail today? Under the disquieting rubric “The Gathering Storm,” Santorum penned roughly 40 articles on Iran during his EPPC stint, scrupulously aggregating news and commentary to paint a picture of the multidimensional Iranian threat facing the United States. Here’s a look at some of what Santorum had to say on the subject, in between posts on Latin American Regression, Extradition, and Alligators and Religious Freedom: A Pluralist Street with No Address in Saudi Arabia.

Print Friendly
facebooktwittermail