(photo: BradWilke / flickr)

I know we all were concerned to see Mitt’s latest photo-op trip gaffe in which he seems to contradict the current Administration’s policy on Israel and Iran:

Romney met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem on the second leg of a trip show display his foreign policy credentials in his race to unseat President Barack Obama in the Nov. 6 election.

Shortly before talks with Netanyahu, Romney’s senior national security aide, Dan Senor, told reporters travelling with the candidate:

“If Israel has to take action on its own, in order to stop Iran from developing that capability, the governor would respect that decision.”

The comment seemed to put Romney at odds with Obama’s efforts to press Israel to avoid any preemptive strike before tough Western economic sanctions against Iran run their course.

Even his apparent “accept[ing] instructions from Netanyahu” may be noted …

…but did anyone notice what the Obama administration has been doing at the same time? From Reuters:

President Barack Obama’s national security adviser has briefed Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on a U.S. contingency plan to attack Iran should diplomacy fail to curb its nuclear program, an Israeli newspaper reported on Sunday.

The Haaretz newspaper said that the U.S. adviser – Thomas Donilon – had described the plan in talks with Netanyahu earlier this month.

… Quoting a senior U.S. official it said spoke on condition of anonymity, Haaretz said Donilon had told Netanyahu the Pentagon was planning for a possible decision to attack Iran’s nuclear sites, and had shown him some of the plans.

In their talks, the same official said Donilon had also detailed the U.S. military’s ability to penetrate nuclear facilities buried deep underground, and had said that such contingency plans were being drawn up in case of a possible deadlock in diplomacy with Iran.

Or there’s Clinton’s statement in the same Reuters piece:

On a visit to Jerusalem this month, Clinton said Israel and Washington were “on the same page” with respect to Iran, calling Iran’s latest proposals to world power talks on the issue “non starters.”

“Our own choice is clear, we will use all elements of American power to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon,” Clinton said.

So Romney is saying it’s ok for Israel to go ahead with an attack while Obama’s team is briefing Bibi on how we’ll do it. Can someone explain what the choice is here since I certainly can’t.

(Hmmm, even Jeffrey Goldberg is having trouble choosing — he ends up picking Obama. (h/t Russ Wellen)) http://www.fpif.org/blog