Clinton's Defense Umbrella Idea for the Mid-East Resurfaces

Secretary of State Clinton in Bangkok resurrected an idea that she originally proposed back during the primaries last year. Then a candidate for President, Mrs. Clinton argued that United States would deal with a nuclear Iran -- by arming its neighbors and extending a "umbrella of deterrence" over the region. In an April 2008 debate, then Senator Clinton said that the United States "should be looking to create an umbrella of deterrence that goes much further than just Israel. Of course I would make it clear to the Iranians that an attack on Israel would incur massive retaliation from the United States, but I would do the same with other countries in the region."

Recently a number of foreign policy analysts have suggested that Secretary Clinton was a forgotten player in the Obama Administration - some going as far that she had been sidelined completely - but the resurfacing of the defense umbrella idea is the clearest evidence yet that Secretary Clinton is winning policy battles within the Administration.

From the New York Times:

"We will still hold the door open (for talks with Iran) but we also have made it clear that we'll take actions, as I've said time and time again, crippling action, working to upgrade the defense of our partners in the region," she said in a program taped for Thai television during a visit to Bangkok.

"We want Iran to calculate what I think is a fair assessment ... that if the U.S. extends a defense umbrella over the region, if we do even more to support the military capacity of those in the Gulf, it's unlikely that Iran will be any stronger or safer because they won't be able to intimidate and dominate as they apparently believe they can once they have a nuclear weapon."

Last week Clinton said Iran's intentions were unclear following June's election there and that Washington's offer of talks with Tehran over its nuclear program was not open-ended.

The former Bush administration refused to engage Iran directly until it had met certain preconditions, including suspending uranium enrichment, a process that can produce fuel for nuclear power plants or atomic weapons.

But President Barack Obama, who took over in January, says that approach failed and Clinton has also said it was a mistake.

Despite the policy shift, Iran has not responded to Obama's overtures and those from other countries seeking to persuade Tehran to give up sensitive nuclear work the West believes is aimed at building a bomb and Iran says is to generate power.

Diplomats suspect Iran is buying time by stalling over getting into any substantive talks.

As James Hoagland noted US defense guarantees would enable "Arab states to forgo developing their own nuclear arsenals, just as the U.S.-Japan bilateral security treaty is intended to keep Japan nuclear-free." Deterrence works. It is a proven concept.

Tags: Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, US Foreign Policy, US Mid-East Policy, US-Iranian Relations (all tags)

Comments

82 Comments

YAY HILLARY!! The Hillary I know and love!

not a neo-con, but still tough on Islamist tyrants like Ahmadinejad! She is great. I think more forceful words about Iran have been necessary since the election, and are now more than ever. Hillary is rising to the occasion!

by Lakrosse 2009-07-21 11:30PM | 0 recs
Re: YAY HILLARY!! The Hillary I know and love!

This is ABSOLUTELY the talk of neoliberal jackassery.  EXACTLY why I didn't want Clinton to be president.  EXACTLY why I didn't want her as SOS.

by lojasmo 2009-07-22 03:44AM | 0 recs
Re: YAY HILLARY!! The Hillary I know and love!

I had a similar reaction. This idea would further destablize the region. We need fewer nukes, not more.

by Alice Marshall 2009-07-22 04:43AM | 0 recs
actually, by keeping Iran from nukes,

there will be fewer nukes. Thats why I am not content for them to have the bomb.

by Lakrosse 2009-07-22 06:02AM | 0 recs
Re: actually, by keeping Iran from nukes,

DID you RTFA?  I think not.  Suggestion is to put MORE arms into the region.  Since Iran currently has no nukes, that would be MORE nukes in the region.

by lojasmo 2009-07-22 07:32AM | 0 recs
Re: actually, by keeping Iran from nukes,

There is no way to stop an Iranian nuclear program. The country wants it too bad.

by MNPundit 2009-07-22 07:38AM | 0 recs
Re: actually, by keeping Iran from nukes,

If you think the proposal is that we would be providing nukes to other Middle Eastern countries, you either need to read more closely or engage your critical thinking skills.

by Steve M 2009-07-22 08:13AM | 0 recs
Re: actually, by keeping Iran from nukes,

And I would suggest you read the first couple of paragraphs.

by lojasmo 2009-07-22 09:43AM | 0 recs
Re: actually, by keeping Iran from nukes,

Your assumption seems to be that upgrading the defense of our allies equates to giving them nukes, something that is not even close to being on the table in the real world.

I had hoped that the end of the primary campaign would likewise mean an end to people acting as though Hillary has foreign policy views to the right of Dick Cheney.  Now, you can either insist that Hillary is casually suggesting that the US breach the most fundamental provision of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and no one is saying boo about it except you, or else you can acknowledge that she is recommending something quite reasonable and, guess what, it's Obama's foreign policy too.

by Steve M 2009-07-22 09:59AM | 0 recs
Re: YAY HILLARY!! The Hillary I know and love!

That's idea. By the US providing an umbrella of deterrence, it keeps the Saudis and the other Gulf states from developing their own independent nuclear program. The goal is to prevent a regional arms race.  

by Charles Lemos 2009-07-22 09:02AM | 0 recs
what is so "neoliberal"

about being tough on Islamic terrorism, which Iran not only promotes, but funds in the form of Hamas and Hezbollah, and even reports of to Al Qaeda? These groups all want the overthrow of non pure governments and to unite the region, or some, the world into an Islamic Caliphate. Hillary does not want Iran with a nuke, and unlike others, she's not content to sit back and let that happen. Its not just Israel that Mahmoud and Khamenei hate. They hate America too and the West, and not only did Ahmad talk of wiping Israel off the map, but he talks of a world with America. God that would blow balls, not only for the world, but I'd hate to think of a world without this great country I live in called the USA.

Also, I think you got your terms mixed up. "Neoliberal" means economically lassez-faire. Neo-conservative was probably the adjective you looked for, even tho no being tough on Islamic terrorism doesn't make you a "neo-con." I and no one else is arguing for a full scale invasion on Iran and occupation. We just want to bomb their nuke facilities. I don't know why people are so scared. Israel bombed Syria's and Iraq's, and nothing happened.

by Lakrosse 2009-07-22 06:33AM | 0 recs
You are an authoritarian war monger.

You are probably a troll as well.

But enough name calling. What is really needed is for the U.S. to offer Iran a nuclear umbrella as well. Meaning promising massive retaliation against Israel if Israel uses atomic bombs against Iran.

Now I know you aren't suggesting that Israel nuke Iran. But actually Iran learned from Iraq's and Syria's lessons just as you suggest we (us commenters here) learn. What Iran learned is to disperse and harden their nuclear operations so in fact it would probably take a nuclear bomb to shut them down and even that might not work.

And further:

Juan Cole: By the way, why does AFP repeat the canards that Ahmadinejad threatened to wipe Israel of the face of the map and that he called the Holocaust a myth?

by Jeff Wegerson 2009-07-22 06:46AM | 0 recs
Juan Cole? Why would anyone listen to him?

actually, Iranian translators who are either top at what they do in Iran or work for the President's office call out Juan Cole's bullshit:

If Mr. Steele and Mr. Cole are right, not one word of the quotation -- Israel should be wiped off the map -- is accurate.

  But translators in Tehran who work for the president's office and the foreign ministry disagree with them. All official translations of Mr. Ahmadinejad's statement, including a description of it on his Web site (www.president.ir/eng/), refer to wiping Israel away. Sohrab Mahdavi, one of Iran's most prominent translators, and Siamak Namazi, managing director of a Tehran consulting firm, who is bilingual, both say "wipe off" or "wipe away" is more accurate than "vanish" because the Persian verb is active and transitive.

  The second translation issue concerns the word "map." Khomeini's words were abstract: "Sahneh roozgar." Sahneh means scene or stage, and roozgar means time. The phrase was widely interpreted as "map," and for years, no one objected. In October, when Mr. Ahmadinejad quoted Khomeini, he actually misquoted him, saying not "Sahneh roozgar" but "Safheh roozgar," meaning pages of time or history. No one noticed the change, and news agencies used the word "map" again.

  Ahmad Zeidabadi, a professor of political science in Tehran whose specialty is Iran-Israel relations, explained: "It seems that in the early days of the revolution the word 'map' was used because it appeared to be the best meaningful translation for what he said. The words 'sahneh roozgar' are metaphorical and do not refer to anything specific. Maybe it was interpreted as 'book of countries,' and the closest thing to that was a map. Since then, we have often heard 'Israel bayad az naghshe jographya mahv gardad' -- Israel must be wiped off the geographical map. Hard-liners have used it in their speeches."

Also, Ahmad is of course a fucking Holocaust denier and called it a myth. Cole has his head in the fucking sand.

No I'm not a troll. Just because I'm not this ultra-leftist who unlike you, knows America's allies from avowed enemies does not mean I'm a troll. Why would we ever give a fucking nuclear umbrella to a country that supports Hamas and Hezbollah which both hate our ally Israel (USS Liberty was an accident, only anti-semites tend to think otherwise), and calls America the Great Satan?

You're just a fucking anti-semite, wanting massive retaliation against a country, the Jewish State that would dare harm an avowed enemy government's nuclear facilities given Iranian leader's rhetoric. Iran's leader openly hate America, say so, and call us the Great Satan and Israel Little Satan.

Why am I wasting my time debunking you. You're hopeless.

by Lakrosse 2009-07-22 07:22AM | 0 recs
I suppose if I really believed you are a troll

I would stop feeding you.

But I see you didn't deny that you are an authoritarian.

You certainly have me beat in the name calling contest.

I'm surprised that MyDD tolerates you. You have a bad attitude in addition to being abrasive. But enough compliments. You'll not hear from me again, so be happy.

by Jeff Wegerson 2009-07-22 08:57AM | 0 recs
I'm anything BUT authoritarian

that is why I hate Radical Islam, as I have hated Communism and Fascism. They are all all-encompassing authoritarian ways of life, and I don't want to see Radical Islam spread. Too many groups have spread around its ideas and actions all around the ME. I want freedom of speech, freedom for women, for gays, minorities, and Islamic States do not practice that. Hell even the Islamic monarchies do not practice that. What I am worried about is the rising trend of immigrants in Europe who are getting radicalized and getting political influence and the Muslim establishment there not doing enough to prevent radicalization. I am worried about groups trying to overthrow non-radical governments in order to form Islamic states. There is a reason Egypt partakes in the blockade too: they don't want a Hamas state, as we have in Gaza. There is a reason people don't want Hezbollah in charge of Lebanon: they don't need a Hezbollah Lebanon teaming up with Syria to try to get nukes again, as Syria once did. Iran is a huge danger should it get a nuke. The problem with Radical Islam is that they believe in martyrdom and are not rational: they blow themselves up.

And no I do not buy this "anti-colonialism" "they've been oppressed by the West" stuff. Do you see Vietnamese people blowing themselves up in buses like in England, trains like in Spain, or in cafes, schools, in America, even after what we did to them, and the Vietnam War was wrong. These jihadist groups want a caliphate that would be hostile to the West, extremely oppressive, and could seek nukes. Why do you think pakistan is fighting so hard to keep the Taliban from taking over? Do you want to see the Taliban with nukes?

by Lakrosse 2009-07-22 02:19PM | 0 recs
Radical Islam does not scare me.

It is a response to the extraction of oil wealth by oligarchs who then do not use it for the benefit of their populations. Saudia Arabia is prime case number one. That country has the most radical of all radical Islamists.

Iran is undergoing a struggle right now. But it's not about radical Islam. It's about who controls the wealth of the country.

Hamas is a special case created by Israel. Remove Israel pressure from the Gaza cooker and Hamas deflates like a balloon.

Hezbollah is a very disciplined self defense organization for southern Lebanon. Again they are a response to Israel. Only they are successful because they control their own space and are a defacto state in the areas they control.

Neither scare me one bit. I am not scared by Iran having the bomb. I worry some about Pakistan.

But I worry more about the imperial U.S. approach to the world.

Israel has dug itself into a huge hole. And they are digging still. And the U.S. encourages the digging. When I say the U.S., I mean of course, those who control the levers of power, not you or I. And not just the government but the economic ones as well.

Now those people scare me. They are nuts.

As for your Taliban fears, well they would still be the big fish in the backwaters of the little Afghan pond if we hadn't started mucking around there and if we hadn't propped up the wrong side of things in Pakistan.

But your view of things is so different than mine that we could go on like this for a month and barely have begun to sort out the differences and begin to construct some common language and ground for a reasonable discourse.

My guess is the reason you are here, at MyDD, though is that you crave the missing ingredients from your current intellectual diet.

by Jeff Wegerson 2009-07-22 05:56PM | 0 recs
and even Tony Blair, Labour Party PM

called for integration of immmigrants and saw the danger in jihadism. I think Iraq was a big mistake, but the homegrown jihadists had a bigger goal in mind when they blew up the buses, and no, Iraq still is no excuse for them.

by Lakrosse 2009-07-22 02:20PM | 0 recs
Re: You are an authoritarian war monger.

If Iran is interested in defensive assistance from the U.S., we can probably work something out, but that would require them to be a good-faith bargaining partner.  On the other hand, if they want to keep on being all "Death to America," there's no reason the U.S. should expend military resources in its defense.  They have to give something to get something.

by Steve M 2009-07-22 08:19AM | 0 recs
They now say "Death to Russia"

You need to update your basis for judging humanity or whatever.

We only have to expend resources if someone drops the big one. Not gonna happen so it won't cost us extra. (more or less)

But extending the nuclear umbrella un-conditionally, whether they ask for it or not, to everyone, really is the best deterrence. If they can believe us. A bit of a detail, eh?

by Jeff Wegerson 2009-07-22 08:49AM | 0 recs
Re: They now say "Death to Russia"

If we are willing to extend military protection to everybody whether they cooperate with us in other areas or not, it sort of lessens the incentive for anyone to cooperate with us.  We want to encourage people to be our allies, not send the message that it makes no difference whether you work with us or against us.

by Steve M 2009-07-22 09:06AM | 0 recs
Well that's one approach

Our goal is to reduce nukes. There are other ways to encourage countries to work with us and other messages besides "protecting" them with a nuclear umbrella. We are not extending military protection  to them. Just nuclear protection. It's just a nuke umbrella not a conventional umbrella.

The cooperation we want from Iran is nuclear at the moment. So we extend a nuclear umbrella and that becomes an incentive for them to not create their own.

by Jeff Wegerson 2009-07-22 11:20AM | 0 recs
Re: what is so "neoliberal"

Israel bombed Syria's and Iraq's, and nothing happened.

What's a few dead darkies and ragheads, right?

by lojasmo 2009-07-22 07:34AM | 0 recs
would what about be many many

more Arabs, Jews, and neither would be far more if any of those countries had a nuclear weapon and used them.

by Lakrosse 2009-07-22 07:36AM | 0 recs
Re: would what about be many many

SO you're clarivoyant?  Who's gonna win the superbowl?  I'd like to be independently wealthy.

by lojasmo 2009-07-22 09:45AM | 0 recs
but still, why are we talking about

if there is a nuclear Iran. I see no reason why we should not prevent a nuclear Iran in the first place. Why cannot Obama put some action on the table to prevent such a thing in the first place

by Lakrosse 2009-07-21 11:32PM | 0 recs
Re: but still, why are we talking about

I am pretty sure that between Obama, HRC, and Gen. Jones (NSA), there is a multi-step contingency plan for trying to do just that.

But what strategy are you advocating?  How would you go about it?

Or are you still avoiding answering my questions?

And I think we would all be much better off if there were no nuclear weapons in the Mid East or South Asia, which includes Israel, Pakistan, and India.

What's your criterion for determining whose nuclear proliferation we should tolerate, when we and Russia are reducing our arsenals?

Oops.  My mistake.  I asked you another question.  Maybe you'll surprise me with an answer or two.

by Strummerson 2009-07-22 01:09AM | 0 recs
we'd be better off if

no nuclear weapons existed in the world at all. But sorry, thats never happening, and thats one of the unfortunate parts of nukes existing in the first place.

But our criteria is not that fucking hard. Nations like Iran which openly and overtly fund terrorist jihad, or countries like North Korea disarm. Nations with suicidal leaders should be disarmed. Libya disarmed, why shouldn't Iran. We never ask our allies like France and britain to disarm so why should Israel? Hell, Israel is closer to us than France is today. We are America. Israel is never disarming. That is not an option. That is a false smokescreen. Israel has never used its nukes for the last 30 years, and has shown why it can be trusted with them. Also, israel never threatened to wipe any full people or countries off the face of the map.

What am I advocating for Iran? Set a firm deadline to Ahmadinejad, then bomb his reactors. I don't see what is wrong with that. The US and Israel could line up a few other countries and do a joint strike.

by Lakrosse 2009-07-22 02:48AM | 0 recs
Re: we'd be better off if

sounds pretty much like Iraq to me.  How'd that work out?

And so you advocate removing electricity from the citizens of Iran?  That's very humane.

by lojasmo 2009-07-22 03:45AM | 0 recs
did I say "invade and occupy?"

nope, just airstrikes on the nuclear facilities. A world of difference. Seriously, Israel did it to Syria and it went off without such a hitch Syria even denied it happened. And Israel did it to Saddam in the early 80's as well.

by Lakrosse 2009-07-22 04:10AM | 0 recs
Re: did I say "invade and occupy?"

If it's that easy, and if Iran really represents an existential threat to Israel, then Israel would have done it already without waiting for us.

I really doubt that Israel's survival instincts are so dulled that they would stand by and allow an existential threat to develop, simply because they were waiting for US permission to act.

by Steve M 2009-07-22 08:22AM | 0 recs
Re: we'd be better off if

Israel has tried to wipe a full people off the face of the map for decades.  And of course I recognize that prior to 1973 this effort was not unilateral.  But my reading of history does not support the idea that Israel's efforts were fully defensive.  Israel denied, and many here still deny, the very existence of Palestinians in a blatant attempt at cultural and national erasure.  Moshe Dayan famously suggested that if we make the Arabs miserable enough, they will just leave.  Brilliant man.  Obtuse and immoral proposition.  Fantasy land and a dark one at that.  Through the 1970s, Israeli leaders refused to use the term "Palestinian" despite the fact that millions of people identified as Palestinians.  Here's a little poetic proof from what I reckon likely a favorite song of yours:

How the cisterns have dried
The market-square is empty
And no one attends the Temple Mount
In the Old City.

And in the caves in the mountain
Winds are howling
And no one descends to the Dead Sea
By way of Jericho.

The literal translation is mine from the Hebrew.  Recognize it?  Shemer's "Yerushalayim Shel Zahav," composed prior to 1967.  The problem is that it's a hideous lie.  The cisters were used to collect and distribute water for people.  The market squares were not empty.  There were people there.  Temple Mount was attended by people every day.  People regularly went down to the Dead Sea by way of Jericho Road.  But those people were Palestinian.  And the song erases them completely out of existence.  

I do not offer this critique out of hatred of Israel, as you are likely to suggest.  I type from a flat in South Jerusalem right now.  From yesterday afternoon until 9 days from now, I observe the traditional ban on eating meat for this annual period to commemorate the historical destructions of this city and the expulsion of Jews from Spain.  I served and was wounded protecting Israel.  I buried comrades who will never know what it's like to celebrate a 21st birthday, to marry and hold their own child in their arms.  I have dear friends and family here whose welfare I seek and pray for.  I am deeply connected to the place and its communities, its music and food and language.  It is from a place of deep commitment that I offer this critique and from an understanding that when a people asserts itself by disavowing others it degrades itself and endangers itself just like an abusive individual who only experiences self-hood at the cost of degrading and dominating another.

And I absolutely support a regional anti-proliferation and disarmament treaty, including Israel, as part of normalization of peaceful relations and that should be guaranteed by the very kind of "Defense Umbrella" proposed by Secretary Clinton.

And thank you for answering my questions.  I hope you will continue to do so in the future.

by Strummerson 2009-07-22 04:20AM | 0 recs
please, when I said "wipe off"

I clearly meant with nuclear weapons, as Iran has threatened. If Israel wanted to "wipe out" the Palestinians, they'd have done it already. Clearly, given how much their population has increased over the decades, either they're not very successful at it, or they're not doing it. They have never, except for the extreme right, wanted to keep all of the territories. They have said they'll withdraw from territory with a peace deal, which they haven't gotten from the Palestinians.

Israel denied, and many here still deny, the very existence of Palestinians in a blatant attempt at cultural and national erasure.
sorry but there was no "nation" called Palestine. Some saw it as greater Syria, Jordan wanted it all for itself. Even Arab-American Historian Philip Hitti said "There is no such thing as Palestine in history, ever." Please, stop with your Edward Said orientalism garbage.

by Lakrosse 2009-07-22 04:59AM | 0 recs
Re: please, when I said "wipe off"

Please.  There are many ways of wiping a nation off the face of the earth.  You are participating in one by denying a community that fulfills all the recognized criteria of nationhood your recognition and by arguing that others should continue to deny them their national rights.

By your criteria, there was never a "nation" called Israel before 1948.  There was an ancient regional designation (sort of like "Palestine").  I can find you Jewish-American historians that make the argument that Jewish nationhood is an equally modern invention quite easily.  And Hitti is demonstrably wrong.  Piles of Maps and administrative documents relating to "Palestine" go back centuries.

Please, stop with the garbage or calling everyone and everything you want to deny "garbage."  It's a "garbagy" thing to do and a practice that designates anyone who does it "garbage."

Either you want to engage history and look for solutions to the problems facing Jews and Palestinians today, or you want to engage in hateful apologetics and sensational polemics that ignore everything in history you find inconvenient.  Stop it and show us you are capable of having a real conversation.

My next questions are: if Palestinians do not exist, why do you hate them so much?  Why is it so hateful to you to acknowledge the existence of a national community that is staring you in the face?  Do you think such an attitude makes Jews safer? Smarter?  More moral?  Does it promise a decent future for the real Jews who live their lives here?

And by the way, the majority of Israelis wants to keep control of all the territories while simply designating certain administrative assignments to the subjugated Palestinian population it hopes to placate with a flag and a hymn.  What the majority Jews here currently support would not be recognizable as a state anywhere else in the world.  Gideon Sa'ar calls this consensus "autonomy plus/state minus."  That means most still want to maintain control of those territories.

If most Israelis truly wanted a two state solution, they would accept the Arab League proposal as the basic parameters for a final status settlement, which includes full normalization and security guarantees.

by Strummerson 2009-07-22 05:29AM | 0 recs
actually the Kingdom of Israel

and the Kingdom of Judea are well documented in history of being the birthplace and ancestral homeland of the Jewish people. Hitti was consulted for the Anglo-American Committee of Inquiry on the Mandate Palestine issue, so I think his word matters. he came long before that fraud Edward Said came and sold his snake oil "orientialism"(aka anyone who disagrees with me is a racist colonialist) book.

Wipe Palestine off the map? IT WAS NEVER ON THE MAP. But Israel has said since the occupation began, they'd get out when offered a peace deal. Israel is still waiting.

The fact is "Palestine" is Jordan, and that was supposed to be the Arab state, whereas the Churchill White Paper was intended even as admitted by Churchill himself, you can read about it in Martin Gilbert's new book, to become a Jewish state, and I use state because Churchill indeed wanted that. When the Ottomans lost the war on the wrong side, sorry, but wars have consequences. and the various Arab kings wanted the most land they could get, there is no reason to deny the Jews that small piece of west Palestine. There are 23 Arab countries, and 1 jewish country. Yes there are Palestian Arabs, and they have a right to live, but they do not have the right to try to deny other people's self determination, as they have been trying since the Yishuv came into being, and trying to take away everything and call it "Palestine," which actually didn't begin until 1964. before that, Israel's enemies didn't want a Palestine, but the land for themselves either in the form of "Greater Syria" or a massive Hashemite Empire or Caliphate, as Faisal Hussein wanted. Israel wanted to let the Palestinian Arabs live in their land, until the Palestinian Arabs also went to war with them, and fled voluntarily during the war because their side began it and people flee in war, and because Arab army people told them to do so and return when the Jews were dead.

Rabin, Barak, and Sharon all wanted a Palestinian Arab state. Netanyahu wants not only economic peace, but also a Palestinian state with conditions not much different than what barak wanted. The idea of there being a "Palestinian" people as a demonym is accepted. So I am for a two state plan, so as long as they accept the Jewish state, something they haven't really been willing to do. I do think Jerusalem could be talked about, but Arafat didn't leave in 2000 because of demilitarization, he left because the Jewish State would not allow that trojan horse called "right of return" into its gates and become another Arab state, and given Arab state's records, another autocratic dictatorship where the Jews live as dhimmis.

I don't hate Arabs inherently or for their race. I don't hate all Arabs as people. But most Arab leaders have not been true partners for peace, save Sadat and King Hussein. We need more Sadats, and less Arafats. I want peace. I want the occupation to end. But it cannot until Abbas gets his ass to the table and negotiates, and Hamas is destroyed. I do have hope tho, and that goal is making headway.

by Lakrosse 2009-07-22 05:44AM | 0 recs
Re: actually the Kingdom of Israel

the Kingdom of Judea are well documented in history of being the birthplace and ancestral homeland of the Jewish people.

Mazel tov.  You have earned an 'A' in a 6th grade Hebrew school class.  History?  I'm sorry to tell you that no serious student of history would take such a statement seriously at all.

1. History is not a place where things are documented.  It's not an archive.  The biblical Kingdoms of Israel and Judea are well documented in the Bible, which is a compilation of mythologies that reflect some historical facts about an ancient group of peoples from whom modern Jews in part descend.  The fact that these are mythologies does not devalue them.  Mythologies are crucial cultural practices.  But they do not operate the same as histories.  You are the one here who has no respect for cultural traditions of others and pit your own against them as superior in integrity and historical veracity.  Not me.

2. As far as the biblical narrative goes, the Kingdom of Israel was not the ancestral homeland of the Jewish people.  It was the territory controlled by the confederation of 10 tribes, ruled by an iron age dynasty of warlords, primarily from a tribe called Ephraim that according to biblical tradition was part of the bifurcated tribe of Joseph, who may or may not have existed.  But none of these 10 tribes in the traditional narrative included the tribes of Benjamin and Judah, who along with members of the priestly caste are one of the ancient sources of the contemporary Jews.  So the Kingdom of Israel you mention, actually has little to do with contemporary Jews and Israel.  There is a very small people who claims descent from this kingdom.  They are called Samaritans.  Whether that is historically accurate or not, that is their sacred tradition.  I think sacred traditions are valid and important.  But they must be read differently from historical documents.

3. Neither the ancient Kingdoms of Judah and Israel meet the criteria of nation states, nor did their cultures resemble what any serious student of nationhood and nationalism would consider a nation.  Now their are some theorists of nationalism that trace modern concepts of nationhood to biblical concepts, particularly post-reformation.  These arguments play a role in my professional academic work.  But no one I know actually thinks the societies portrayed in biblical sources function recognizably as nations.  For a great source to learn how the history of the biblical period is investigated, I recommend the work of Israel Finkelstein.  Stay away from the Sheffield school.  They are ideologically overdetermined to the point of basically arguing Jewish culture and history were fabricated beginning in the 19th century.  It's bunk.  But no one interested in historical inquiry reads biblical narratives as documentary evidence of historical phenomena on their own.

Hitti was consulted for the Anglo-American Committee of Inquiry on the Mandate Palestine issue, so I think his word matters.

Then he is clearly way out of date and party to a politicized process.  Both compromise his validity, particularly in isolation, as an up to date historical authority.  

As for Said, you are really grasping for a straw man.  I haven't mentioned him once.  I think some of his findings and contributions were groundbreaking and others much less so and reject.  He was more of a theorist than a historian.  That's how most both read and critique his work.  But as I am not using him, I am not sure who you are arguing against by bringing him up.

For some insight into how and why Palestinians conceive of themselves as a nation and understand their own historical experience, I recommend, once again, you actually read Sari Nusseibeh's memoir, Once Upon a Country, as he is the only Palestinian for whom you have ever expressed any respect whatsoever on these pages.

Wipe Palestine off the map? IT WAS NEVER ON THE MAP.

So here's the rough part.  This kind of thing is where your credibility goes flying out the window Lakrosse.  First of all, I have a family member who collects antique maps of the region.  Many of them are labeled with a version of the term "Palestine."  But I don't actually expect you to take me at face value.  Here's a link to a collector's site: http://www.philaprintshop.com/holyland.h tml

Some of the images make it a bit hard to make out the writing, but certainly the second oldest (Abraham Ortelius after Tilleman Stella. "Palestinae sive totius Terrae Promissionis, Nova Descriptio." From Theatrum Orbis Terrarum. Antwerp: Aegidius Coppen Diesth, 1570-1575.) reads "PALESTINA" at the top of the legend.  16th century is pretty old for a legible map.  You won't find any maps that read "State of Israel" nearly that old.  Several others on that site from the 17th-19th centuries also label the region Palestine.  Take a gander.  Here's another from a mid 18th century source that has all three names: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:1759_m ap_Holy_Land_and_12_Tribes.jpg

Now I don't think you can continue to claim that "Palestine...WAS NEVER ON THE MAP" any more.  It also does support Hitti's idiosyncratic, if not outrageous claim.

But Israel has said since the occupation began, they'd get out when offered a peace deal. Israel is still waiting.

Israel doesn't say, just as history is not a locus of documentation.  Some statements by some officials were sincere, but many were diplomatic.  Israel has not displayed eagerness give up the territories.  Amos Elon pointed this out in June 1967, which I posted in a previous diary that you merely screamed at because it doesn't fit this oversimplistic narrative you are wedded to.  There have been quite a few mistakes and bad moves all around.  The Palestinians have born the brunt of the suffering, to venture an understatement.  Read Nusseibeh's book for one of many credible Palestinian perspectives.  It is absolutely in Israel's interest to do everything it can to address and help repair that, before it's demographically and politically and economically impossible to maintain it's own aspirations.  Time is not on Israel's side here.  But it has much more capital to invest, literally and figuratively, at this point to improve things.

The fact is "Palestine" is Jordan, and that was supposed to be the Arab state, whereas the Churchill White Paper was intended even as admitted by Churchill himself, you can read about it in Martin Gilbert's new book, to become a Jewish state, and I use state because Churchill indeed wanted that.

The fact is, actually, that "Palestine" was the generally accepted administrated name of this geographical region beginning in the second century CE.

As for Churchill, a man who did much good.  But also a recalcitrant imperialist who screwed up a lot of the world under British control.  What Churchill's visions and desires for Palestine or Israel were are in no sense sacrosanct in my eyes.  And again, they do not reflect contemporary realities.

When the Ottomans lost the war on the wrong side, sorry, but wars have consequences. and the various Arab kings wanted the most land they could get, there is no reason to deny the Jews that small piece of west Palestine.

Wars have consequences and we live with them.  Peace requires adjustments.  Your position that the Palestinians are a fraudulent entity with no valid claims or experiences and no actual geographical affiliation and thus should just suck it up has been noted by just about everyone here.  I do not find it either practically constructive or ethically justifiable.  You seem committed to maintaining inequities and perpetuating desperation and violence.  No good for the Jews.  No good for the Palestinians.

There are 23 Arab countries, and 1 jewish country.

Thank you Vladimir Jabotinsky and Menachem Begin.  Their favorite talking point.  They actually laid claim to both sides of the Jordan.  Guess what, it hasn't brought Jews peace or security.  Not all "Arabs" can be lumped together.  It's a racist fantasy to do this.  On that point, I agree with Said.  And my guess is that unlike you, I have actually read him.

Yes there are Palestian Arabs, and they have a right to live, but they do not have the right to try to deny other people's self determination, as they have been trying since the Yishuv came into being, and trying to take away everything and call it "Palestine," which actually didn't begin until 1964.

Oops.  Now you contradict yourself.  There are Palestinian Arabs?  But there was and is no such thing as Palestine?  SO how can there be?  Right now, Jews have national self-determination and full enfranchisement and civil rights.  Most Palestinians do not.  Yet a majority of Palestinians have expressed a willingness to accept Israel's existence as an historical fact and live in peace with it.  Don't they have the same rights?  I mean, if you now admit they exist?  As for when they started using the term "Palestine" as their national designation, you are oversimplifying history.  Stop being lazy and read Nusseibeh's book already, since you have declared him kosher.  And by the way, there was no such thing as an "Israeli" before 1948 and no state called "Israel."  I didn't realize that somewhere in those 19 YEARS national development was excluded from viability.

Israel's enemies didn't want a Palestine, but the land for themselves either in the form of "Greater Syria" or a massive Hashemite Empire or Caliphate, as Faisal Hussein wanted. Israel wanted to let the Palestinian Arabs live in their land, until the Palestinian Arabs also went to war with them, and fled voluntarily during the war because their side began it and people flee in war, and because Arab army people told them to do so and return when the Jews were dead.

Most Palestinians didn't want to be murdered and have their land stolen.  Others did not want to get caught in the crossfire between the armies.  The flight really began in April 1947 following two events.  The massacre of Deir Yassin, a village on the outskirts of Jerusalem that had declared itself publicly neutral and in which there were few if any militants or weapons.  Following that, about two weeks, Zionist paramilitaries began to shell the Arab neighborhood in Hafa's Wadi, even though it was not an armed population and had offered no provocation, and the Palestinian workers were driven out of the port at gunpoint, in part by people who the day before had been their colleagues.  Your repetition of the kindergarten myth of the creation of the refugee situation isn't even held in much regard by many Israelis anymore.  It's what they told me in Hebrew School as well.  I believed in then.  But I've read a bit since then.

Rabin, Barak, and Sharon all wanted a Palestinian Arab state. Netanyahu wants not only economic peace, but also a Palestinian state with conditions not much different than what barak wanted.

None of these were/are willing to accept a fully independent Palestinian State based on the 1948 armistice lines.  You can keep repeating something.  It doesn't make it true.

The idea of there being a "Palestinian" people as a demonym is accepted.

By anyone with a grasp of reality.  Why do you work so hard to invalidate it?

So I am for a two state plan, so as long as they accept the Jewish state, something they haven't really been willing to do.

Yeah, actually, most have and are.  They accept it in exactly the same way that Sadat and Mubarak and Hussein and Abdullah have.

I do think Jerusalem could be talked about, but Arafat didn't leave in 2000 because of demilitarization, he left because the Jewish State would not allow that trojan horse called "right of return" into its gates and become another Arab state, and given Arab state's records, another autocratic dictatorship where the Jews live as dhimmis.

Your hero Bibi has taken Jerusalem off the table in his invitation to negotiate without preconditions.  Palestinians have every reasonable right to claim East Jerusalem as their capital.  A Jerusalem that houses the capitals of two nations who live in peace would not detract from Jewish historical or national rights, it would be a potentially poetic fulfillment of the biblical image of rapprochement between Isaac and Ishmael when they came together to bury their father.

As for Arafat, I agree far from perfect.  He wasn't wrong to turn down Camp David.  Shlomo ben Ami, Barak's foreign minister and chief negotiator at the time said he wouldn't have accepted it if he were in Arafat's place.  It's how he walked away and the fact that he did not continue to present counter-proposals.  As for your notion that Israel would ever become an autocratic Islamist state, this is a far-fetched neurotic fear at best.  It's not what the vast majority of Palestinians and Israelis want at all. It's not part of their political cultural and aspirations.  Some minority of militant Jewish extremists want a halakhic Jewish state.  That is also not in the cards.  A two state solution would undercut both these constituencies who want theocratic autocracies.  

I don't hate Arabs inherently or for their race. I don't hate all Arabs as people.

You work pretty hard around here to give precisely the opposite impression.  You paint them with the broadest and least sympathetic brush while showing no willingness to consider Palestinian perspectives.  You employ stale and oversimplified historical arguments to degrade and invalidate their aspirations and the integrity of their identities and experiences, and you show precious little compassion for the desperate conditions in which so many of them live and which are inflicted upon them in part for Israel's political purposes.  If that doesn't add up to hatred, I don't know what does.

But most Arab leaders have not been true partners for peace, save Sadat and King Hussein. We need more Sadats, and less Arafats.

Let me reiterate, Sadat and Hussein would never have signed peace treaties if Begin and Rabin had demanded they validate Zionism, as opposed to accepting it and pledging to live at peace with it, the way Bibi is doing and you do.  And there is a huge leadership vacuum in Israel as well.  Your refusal to recognize this is quite baffling.

As far as your calls for Abbas to come to the table.  I agree.  But for very different reasons.  You are suggesting a moral rationale.  I think his principle is sound, given Bibi's obnoxious and insincere offer.  But he is wrong tactically.  He should walk in and say: I am here because you expressed a willingness to negotiate a two state solution without preconditions.  The rest of your speech completely contradicted that.  So I'll go with the first part.  Let's talk about Jerusalem first.  Let Bibi be the one to walk away.  Before he does, Abbas should echo what a Palestinian activist named Arraf wrote in the Nation this week:

The current situation is untenable. Whether we live in two states or one state with equal rights for all--as in South Africa and, indeed, the United States--we will achieve our freedom.

He should add, "and then we will live in peace with you and the wounds will heal."  The press should get every word.

by Strummerson 2009-07-22 10:03AM | 0 recs
the fact is Jews were there before

the Arabs which Palestinian Arabs, as they are now known, came to the region, not country of Palestine, with Muhammed during his Islamic conquests. it is well documented. Also, Palestinians go by Koranic stuff as well.

The Kingdom of Israel/Judah were more of nation states, or whatever the Jews had before the Romans came were more of nation states than the Arabs ever had in Palestine. More than anything Said and Khalidi can spin and weave together. As was the Yishuv.

But enough of the biblical stuff.

and it doesn't change the fact that no parties during the Arab-Israeli war wanted a "Palestine" as a country. Husseini wanted Greater Syria as did his people at Peel, and the '40s before the Arab-israeli war. The Arabs started the war in a blatant act of aggression. The Jews built a nation state in Palestine before the Palestinian Arabs ever did. Nothing can change that. The Yishuv was a highly organized society built on land bought from absentee landlords.

Also, I don't lump all the Arab's together. Thats what the "Arab Nation" and Pan-Arabism was about.

by Lakrosse 2009-07-22 02:36PM | 0 recs
and the existence of the Kingdoms of Judah

and Israel have never been disproven. The Western Wall, which was part of the Temple, and the Temple Mount didn't just show up out of nowhere. They existed before the Arabs ever touched the Levant.

by Lakrosse 2009-07-22 02:48PM | 0 recs
Re: and the existence of the Kingdoms of Judah

The western wall was built in the 1st century BCE by a man called Herod as a retaining wall to a mountain on which a cultic center had been constructed, we think, in the 6th century BCE (Yaron Z. Eliav's book on Temple Mount has some doubts).  Regardless, it was long after the demise of the ancient tribal kingdom of Israel and in the Roman province of Judea.  

I never argued that Jews are not an ancient people with real historical ties to the region.  Just because you are dedicated to thumbing you nose at Palestinians' historical ties here and try to use sacred Jewish mythologies to do so doesn't mean I engage in the same kind of actions against Jews and Jewish history.  And I oppose Palestinians when they do this.  

But using either sacred mythology or ancient history to disavow the other will not secure national and civil rights or material and economic security for these contemporary populations.

by Strummerson 2009-07-22 10:30PM | 0 recs
Re: the fact is Jews were there before

the fact is Jews were there before
the Arabs which Palestinian Arabs, as they are now known, came to the region, not country of Palestine, with Muhammed during his Islamic conquests. it is well documented.

The fact is that the ancient inhabitants of this region are the genetic and cultural progenitors of both populations to some extent.

Those who came with Umar al Khattab (Muhammed was dead already at the time, but I've already established that you care little for actual history) mixed with the local population.  The land was not empty.  Again, geneticists have demonstrated that many Jews and Palestinians share common semitic ancestry specific to this region.  Is "fact" just a word to you?

Typing "it is well documented" with a central historical inaccuracy indicates to me that you have no real idea whether it is documented or not.

If they all arrived with Muhammed's successor, that was 1300 years ago.  Nusseibeh's family dates to this time.  Not long enough to warrant respect in your eyes?  

You are correct that Palestine was not what we call today a "country" at the time of the Muslim conquest.  It was a province of the Eastern (Byzantine) Empire.  But administratively, it was already closer to being a country than the Iron age tribal confederations you want to claim as nation states.

Also, Palestinians go by Koranic stuff as well.

Indeed.  I respect their right to do so.  Just as I respect the right of Jews such as myself to employ biblical narratives in cultural construction.  But I oppose both when they use their mythologies to deny the other's rights to do so.  That's your game.  It's morally reprehensible.

The Kingdom of Israel/Judah were more of nation states, or whatever the Jews had before the Romans came were more of nation states than the Arabs ever had in Palestine.

Actually, what the "Arabs had in Palestine" were pretty sophisticated administrative units of successive imperial states.  Not good enough by our standards, particularly during the decline of the Ottoman Empire.  But again, there were no nation states anywhere in this period.  You seems to indicate that the Iron Age tribal confederations had more in common with contemporary nations states.  In what manner?  How did they resemble nation states?  You keep saying it, but you don't explain.

More than anything Said and Khalidi can spin and weave together. As was the Yishuv.

Congratulations.  You know the names of 2 Palestinian scholars, whose work you reject not because you have read it critically, but because it doesn't fit your ideological program.  But I am not Said or Khalidi, though I have read both.  So argue with me or show enough intellectual honesty to actually read them instead of engaging in derisive name dropping.

But enough of the biblical stuff.

Agreed.  You clearly don't know the Bible, though you invoke it as an historical authority.  I'm not the one who introduced it.  

it doesn't change the fact that no parties during the Arab-Israeli war wanted a "Palestine" as a country.

This isn't a fact.  It's simply not true.  If you had read Nusseibeh's book, you would have a better understanding of the development of Palestinian nationalism.  But 1948 was quite a while ago.  You seem committed to avoiding facing contemporary reality at all costs.

by Strummerson 2009-07-22 09:55PM | 0 recs
Re: actually the Kingdom of Israel

.Most Palestinians didn't want to be murdered and have their land stolen.  Others did not want to get caught in the crossfire between the armies.  The flight really began in April 1947 following two events.  The massacre of Deir Yassin, a village on the outskirts of Jerusalem that had declared itself publicly neutral and in which there were few if any militants or weapons.  Following that, about two weeks, Zionist paramilitaries began to shell the Arab neighborhood in Hafa's Wadi, even though it was not an armed population and had offered no provocation, and the Palestinian workers were driven out of the port at gunpoint, in part by people who the day before had been their colleagues.  Your repetition of the kindergarten myth of the creation of the refugee situation isn't even held in much regard by many Israelis anymore.  It's what they told me in Hebrew School as well.  I believed in then.  But I've read a bit since then.
They were refugees, they chose it, they abandoned their homes, and when you abandon your home, it gets taken. And no, Deir Yassain is not the fucking be all and end all. The fact is these things sadly happen in war, and I could name you numerous massacres of Jews, not to mention they were started by the Arabs in 1920 with Al-Husseini when the Jews didn't do shit to anyone, and they continues.

Also, what is with you and this "Hebrew School" stuff? Do I call your talking points "Madrassah" talking points?

by Lakrosse 2009-07-22 02:43PM | 0 recs
Re: actually the Kingdom of Israel

They were refugees, they chose it, they abandoned their homes, and when you abandon your home, it gets taken.

So if I show up at your house with a company of infantrymen I have trained and start shelling it with mortar fire and you run away and I move in with my troops you have no right to your house because you ran away to save your life?  Refugees indeed have rights under international law and moral theory.

They were refugees, they chose it, they abandoned their homes, and when you abandon your home, it gets taken.

Pathetic.   Clearly you are more interested in denial and equivocation than a critical understanding of either history or how to address the contemporary conflict.  There was plenty of aggression from both sides early on.  That much actually is "well documented."

Also, what is with you and this "Hebrew School" stuff? Do I call your talking points "Madrassah" talking points?

It's because your arguments resemble a pretty elementary Hebrew School curriculum, not a developed and balanced consideration of the historical record.  Having read scholarly histories and taught in Hebrew schools, I can recognize the difference.  As for the Madrassah crack, when have I espoused anything that would be acceptable in a Madrassah curriculum.  Most madrassahs, from what I understand, focus on memorization of the Quran and Islamic jurisprudence.  Have I quoted the Quran?

by Strummerson 2009-07-22 10:03PM | 0 recs
Oops. Sorry.

I pasted the wrong quote before my response above.

And no, Deir Yassain is not the fucking be all and end all. The fact is these things sadly happen in war, and I could name you numerous massacres of Jews, not to mention they were started by the Arabs in 1920 with Al-Husseini when the Jews didn't do shit to anyone, and they continues.

Pathetic.   Clearly you are more interested in denial and equivocation than a critical understanding of either history or how to address the contemporary conflict.  There was plenty of aggression from both sides early on.  That much actually is "well documented."

by Strummerson 2009-07-22 10:35PM | 0 recs
Also

If refugees from an armed conflict forfeit rights to their homes, did the ancient Judeans forfeit their descendants' rights to live here when they fled the aftermath of the revolt in 70 CE and the Hadrianic persecutions that followed the Bar Kokhba conflict in 132-135 CE?

by Strummerson 2009-07-22 11:05PM | 0 recs
and buddy,

there is plenty of archeological proof to show that the Land of Israel is indeed the ancestral homeland of the Jewish people. No one denies that.

by Lakrosse 2009-07-22 04:36PM | 0 recs
Re: and buddy,

I refer you to Israel Finkelstein, whose work is readily available in English (I glean from your posts that you do not read Hebrew) for a more nuanced and interesting perspective.

by Strummerson 2009-07-22 10:04PM | 0 recs
Re: and buddy,

Also, please do not call me buddy.  I am not your buddy.  Your mode of thought and the way you address others pretty much preclude actual friendship between us.  Try to stop being such a jackass.

by Strummerson 2009-07-22 10:09PM | 0 recs
Re: and buddy,

Um, not so fast.

by TxDem08 2009-07-23 12:13PM | 0 recs
and when talking about "Palestine,"

it was on maps because like Siberia, it was a region, not a country.

by Lakrosse 2009-07-22 05:45AM | 0 recs
Re: and when talking about "Palestine,"

Sort of like Israel, or Judah, or Syria, or Lebanon, or Egypt, or Italy, or Greece, or Ethiopia, or numerous other contemporary nation states that took their names from regional designations or ancient tribal names.

But you are squirming here.  You tried to argue that the name was never on the map.  You have been exposed on that one once and for all.

by Strummerson 2009-07-22 10:07PM | 0 recs
Re: and when talking about "Palestine,"

Lakrosse,

I'd like your permission to paste this exchange between us as a diary for others to comment on.  I would introduce it like this:

"The following is an exchange on mythology, history, Zionism, and Palestinian nationalism between Lakrosse and Strummerson.  Both will refrain from commenting on this diary, except to clarify in the case of confusion relating to a typo, to enable others to engage in the debate by evaluating their positions."

Agreed?

Strum

by Strummerson 2009-07-22 10:43PM | 0 recs
That diary would be very educational for us

I really enjoyed your discourses on the biblical history, entwined with the myths and the legends.

Perhaps you should write a diary just on that....

by Ravi Verma 2009-07-23 08:25AM | 0 recs
Re: please, when I said "wipe off"

The "wipe off" quote was mistranslated.  glad that, after over a year, neocons like you are still attributing the mistake as if it were correct.

by lojasmo 2009-07-22 09:48AM | 0 recs
Damn you

For being so eminently reasonable.  You make it impossible for anyone to paint Israelis with a big broad brush.

by Ravi Verma 2009-07-22 02:26PM | 0 recs
Re: Damn you

Or Palestinians, I hope.

by Strummerson 2009-07-22 10:09PM | 0 recs
Re: we'd be better off if

Israel has also lied about it's nukes for 30 years. We need to ram the IAEA down their throats or they disarm, simple as that.

If they don't like it tough, we have interests and they have interests and sometimes those interests clash. But we are more important than they are so they can either bend to our will or lose our help.

by MNPundit 2009-07-22 07:42AM | 0 recs
Re: we'd be better off if

Uh, what is the IAEA's authority?  Israel has never signed the Non-Proliferation Treaty.

by Steve M 2009-07-22 08:17AM | 0 recs
Israel never lied.

They never said "we don't have nukes." They use a policy of deliberate ambiguity. They neither confirm nor deny. That is not lying. You're trying to demonize them with that word "lied."

by Lakrosse 2009-07-22 08:52AM | 0 recs
Re: Israel never lied.

And that's also the Iranian strategy - nuclear ambiguity.

by Charles Lemos 2009-07-22 09:04AM | 0 recs
Re: Israel never lied.

Doesn't Iran flat-out deny that they intend to build nuclear weapons?  That's not my definition of ambiguity.

by Steve M 2009-07-22 09:08AM | 0 recs
Re: Israel never lied.

Iran also told us that they just had free and fair elections.

The view of most observers is that Iran is pursuing a credible nuclear deterrent to ensure the survival of the regime. Not a weapon per se but rather the ability to build one quickly if need be.

by Charles Lemos 2009-07-22 11:22AM | 0 recs
Re: Israel never lied.

Saying that you don't have nukes does not become a "strategy of ambiguity" just because people may not believe you!

by Steve M 2009-07-22 11:26AM | 0 recs
Re: but still, why are we talking about

Who makes us the arbiter of who can and can't have nukes?

Preemptive strikes are not laudable policy.

by lojasmo 2009-07-22 07:35AM | 0 recs
who are we? We are the USA

who beat fascism and communism, and is the beacon of freedom in the world to more people than any other country! Yes we've made mistakes, but all superpowers do. We used nukes once, and given that someone was gonna figure it out, we did it on an immoral enemy, Imperial Japan, and showed the world how damaging they are, which is why no one else has used them, including DURING THE COLD WAR us.

We are America. This idea that we cannot have a say in who has nukes is very dangerous. It is absurd.

by Lakrosse 2009-07-22 08:54AM | 0 recs
Re: who are we? We are the USA

"having a say" is worlds different than unilateral decidering.  Did you learn NOTHING over the last eight years?

by lojasmo 2009-07-22 09:50AM | 0 recs
I agree Bush overreached

American power, but if you look at the Cold War up until the end of Clinton, we indeed did have a moral superpower's right. however, Bush is gone now. We need to act like that if we really want to move on. Nothing changes the fact we had huge roles in bringing down fascism and communism, the two biggest mistakes of political systems in modern history. And we are still the beacon of freedom in the world. Even with Bush, we still had many immigrants from around the world trying to come to this great country, as we did before and after.

by Lakrosse 2009-07-22 02:12PM | 0 recs
Re: I agree Bush overreached

So, you're arguing that now that Bush is gone, we need to continue his odious unilateral violence to manipulate the prominence of different nations?

Bravo.

by lojasmo 2009-07-22 02:38PM | 0 recs
Re: who are we? We are the USA

Um...we've used nukes twice. Both times on civilian targets.  We did it on an immoral enemy?  And have since followed and doubled down on their actions by our in Iraq & Afghanistan.  We've lost all moral authority we've had in the past.

No one else has used them, because they know there is no going back, and the fact that the 'other' side has them as well.

Also, during the COLD WAR, please name an incident or action that would have required the use of nuclear weapons?

What is absurd is the attempted assertion that WE know better than anyone else.  But this line of thinking jibes well with the defense of all things Israel argument, so it is to be expected.

by TxDem08 2009-07-23 12:19PM | 0 recs
Good timing

Seems like a bit of the ole "good cop bad cop" on the I/P front/.  A classic move and formidable when well played.  HRC goes tough on Iran while Obama goes tough on Bibi and his settlement shenanigans.  Given my recent diary questioning their coordination and division of labor, I'm pleased as punch.  I want both of them in play as much as possible.

by Strummerson 2009-07-22 01:12AM | 0 recs
she should clarify

We will still hold the door open (for talks with Iran) but we also have made it clear that we'll take actions, as I've said time and time again, crippling action, working to upgrade the defense of our partners in the region," she said in a program taped for Thai television during a visit to Bangkok.

It should be made clear that the "crippling action" can be avoided through talks.

As this is phrased, it conveys that we plan "crippling action" regardless of any talks; that plans to "upgrade the defense" of our "partners in the region" are going forward whether there are talks or not.

It's best to eliminate any such ambiguities, given that the other party is liable to interpret whatever we say as hostile.

by social democrat 2009-07-22 01:18AM | 0 recs
Hillary is doing an excellent job!!

as usual

by nikkid 2009-07-22 06:05AM | 0 recs
An Umbrella for Iran as well?

Can we not promise Iran that should Israel use atomic weapons against Iran that we would retaliate against Israel massively as well? Indeed why not an umbrella for the entire planet?

That would be true deterrence.

by Jeff Wegerson 2009-07-22 06:18AM | 0 recs
After bad press, SoS Clinton denies any new policy

"I'm not suggesting a new policy. In fact we all believe that Iran's pursuit of nuclear weapons is unacceptable, and I've said that many times," she said.

by commentist 2009-07-22 10:31AM | 0 recs
Deterrence is no Defense Against the Martyr

Arming Iran's neighbors with even conventional weapons raises the specter of repeating the mistakes that we have made in Iran with the Shah, Iraq with Saddam and in Afghanistan with the warlords.  Whatever weapons that we produce and send outside of our borders seem to be eventually used against us.

Sure Saudi Arabia is our strategic friend now, but what happens if the increasingly unemployed and hostile young males of that country decide to overthrow the royalty?  Things can move very quickly.  A brand spanking new Patriot Missile system that was used to take out high-flying ballistic missiles could be very easily used to shoot down aircraft trying to take off from the USS Abraham Lincoln in the Persian Gulf or Israeli passenger liners on their way to Australia or the aircraft of anyone who had not pledged to join the worldwide caliphate.

The dispersion of weapons in that region has always come back to haunt us.  Who would have thought that the Shah would have fallen?  We did not, otherwise we might not have given him so many F-14 fighter jets.  The same could be said for Saddam and poison gas who eventually became our enemy.  We have failed to negotiate our relationships in the Middle East and more weapons will only accentuate those failures, not improve them.

Ironically, the best path to peace may very well be the destruction of those Iran's nuclear weapons.  It would not only end the threat, but it would discourage others from pursuing the same course.  Deterrence is no strategy against a culture that holds the position of martyr as the highest honor.  

We have been very lucky so far that rational minds have prevailed in potential nuclear conflict, but that luck could change with the violent overthrow of any government that holds them.

You think Iran is bad now?  They could be far worse, not that they are any good right now.  Imagine if, God help us, the Supreme Council was not around to reign Ahmadinejad in?

by Tall Saul 2009-07-22 10:51AM | 0 recs
Re: Deterrence is no Defense Against the Martyr

I am not willing to concede that, clearly, Clinton is not talking about a conventional "umbrella" but rather a nuclear umbrella.  

Do some here suppose she's talking about surrounding Iran with sword-weilding troops, perhaps?

by lojasmo 2009-07-22 11:01AM | 0 recs
Re: Deterrence is no Defense Against the Martyr

Do you have any explanation for why no one, besides yourself, realizes that Hillary is proposing the US breach the most fundamental provision of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty by openly providing nukes to Iran's neighbors?

by Steve M 2009-07-22 11:28AM | 0 recs
Re: Deterrence is no Defense Against the Martyr

The "umbrella" policy, as it applies to other areas of the geopolitical world, clearly utilizes nuclear weapons.

The gestalt is that of nuclear deterrance.  

Others may not agree, but if you take a minute to paruse the thread, you will see that it is not "no one, besides myself."

At any rate, The gestalt is one of nuclear deterrance.

by lojasmo 2009-07-22 01:10PM | 0 recs
Re: Deterrence is no Defense Against the Martyr

Seriously...

http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=2 0601087&sid=a4dFxvZRBdCg

The U.S. is "working to upgrade the defense of our partners in the region," Clinton said during a televised town hall forum in Bangkok. "If the U.S. extends a defense umbrella over the region, if we do even more to support the military capacity of those in the Gulf, it's unlikely that Iran will be any stronger or safer."

Now, you may be thinking of the primaries, but even there you're taking it out of context.

When Clinton ran for president, she suggested offering Middle East allies protection against Iran under the U.S. "nuclear umbrella" during an April 2008 debate against Obama. A United Arab Emirates official this April said U.S. protection for its Persian Gulf allies against an Iranian nuclear attack would be a powerful deterrent.

The U.S.'s so-called nuclear umbrella now covers its North Atlantic Treaty Organization allies, plus Japan, South Korea and Australia.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X0jIznVLe Wo&feature=related

From 2:10-4:57, no where in her response does she indicate that she would use nuclear weapons, but that a defense umbrella would be extended to those countries in the region who sign up.  Also...unless you've forgotten the amount of damage that the U.S. can impose on other countries with stand-off weapons, you then truly have no understanding of our military power and deterrence capability.

by TxDem08 2009-07-22 02:26PM | 0 recs
Re: Deterrence is no Defense Against the Martyr

Yes, it is nuclear deterrence.  Our nukes, not nukes we are going to freely spread around the Middle East.

It would flatly violate the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty for us to give nukes to non-nuclear states in the Middle East, and it is unreasonable to believe that Hillary is proposing a any such thing.  The lack of alarm from the IAEA or any of the NPT signatory nations ought to persuade you that you are 100% wrong about this.

by Steve M 2009-07-22 02:38PM | 0 recs
Re: Deterrence is no Defense Against the Martyr

I am neither a fan nor a proponent of neocon saber-rattling, whether it comes from the Bush administration, or the Obama administration.

Iran IS NOT A THREAT.

by lojasmo 2009-07-22 02:40PM | 0 recs
Re: Deterrence is no Defense Against the Martyr

Can you at least man up and admit you were wrong about Hillary wanting to give nukes to Iran's neighbors?

by Steve M 2009-07-22 02:54PM | 0 recs
Re: Deterrence is no Defense Against the Martyr

Any deterrence that can be summed up as the United States saying "trust me" to the Middle East will not be met with open arms.

The United States would not voluntarily rely on the promise one state to block the efforts of another hostile state from attacking us.  We should not expect anyone else to do so either.

If I were the Saudis, I would take one look at any such agreement, thank the United States, and then start hunting for a dishonest nuclear physicist so that Saudi Arabia will not be outmaneuvered by its neighbors.

The weakest state in a region with nuclear armed states is the state without nuclear weapons.  Those countries would be obliged to their own common sense to seek out nuclear weapons for deterrence.  It is their duty to defend themselves and to defend their country.

Either we put physical weapons programs in Iran's neighbor states, which will inevitably be used against us sometime in the near future, or we encourage by a lack of concrete action, the development of a dozen nuclear weapon programs in states whose populations are simmering with apocalyptic Revolution.

There is no middle ground.  Iran has to be deterred physically.  Embargoes of goods only hurt the most vulnerable of the population.  Our arms embargo has only encouraged them to develop an impressive homegrown conventional weapons program that manufactures everything from hand grenades and rifles to jet fighters and tanks.  

To present the example of Japan for a nuclear umbrella is just as dishonest as presenting the example of Japan as the example of a successful United States occupation.  We left them with no choice.  The situations could not be more different, and for reasons that I will not get into here, as they have been sufficiently explored elsewhere.

Iran's nuclear program has to be attacked.  The Supreme Council has to see that the long term benefits of maintaining such a program will only hurt their country in the long run.  They are under the impression, from dealing with our forces in Iraq and in Afghanistan, that we are a paper tiger, and that they are foolish to not test our capabilities.  Iran believes that they are on the cusp of a re-emergence.  We have removed their regional enemies for them, distracted their rivals and have proven ourselves less powerful than ever.

Make no mistake.  Iran is playing a realpolitik game in the Middle East.  They are doing very well.  They have extended their direct power from the Himalayas to the Eastern Mediterranean.  Just wait until they test a nuclear bomb.  What will we do then?  More of the same?

by Tall Saul 2009-07-22 01:20PM | 0 recs
Excellent diary, as usual

And I am amazed at some of the information gleaned from Strummerson's comments.  Apologize for not being here recently... trying to sell a house, buy another one, and a hectic workload associated with a middle aged geezer with 2 young children.

Getting back to your diary, while I am a big fan of SoS Clinton (and I loved the way she was feted with We Shall Overcome in India), I think she has misunderstood Iranian motivations.

We want Iran to calculate what I think is a fair assessment ... that if the U.S. extends a defense umbrella over the region, if we do even more to support the military capacity of those in the Gulf, it's unlikely that Iran will be any stronger or safer because they won't be able to intimidate and dominate as they apparently believe they can once they have a nuclear weapon

I think a fundamental problem with the notion of negotiating without preconditions is that it misses the point.  You cannot negotiate if you think the other side is negotiating in bad faith.  The objective should be to negotiate in good faith, with or without preconditions.  The Iranians will argue (legitimately, in my opinion) that they want nukes because they have been attacked with WMDs while the world winked and nodded.  That is a legitimate, and moral concern... and the strategic objective of the negotiation can be met if those concerns are addressed.  Reducing those concerns to a desire for intimidation and domination is not conducive to holding any negotiations (and misses the mark as well).

That said, I am not now, or ever have been, or ever will be the US SoS.  Just my $0.02.

by Ravi Verma 2009-07-22 02:50PM | 0 recs

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