"If I'm the president we will attack Iran"

From Daily Kos via ABC News comes something truly disturbing.

Clinton further displayed tough talk in an interview airing on Good Morning America Tuesday, ABC News' Chris Cuomo asked Clinton what she would do if Iran attacked Israel with nuclear weapons.

"I want the Iranians to know that if I'm the president we will attack Iran," Clinton said."In the next ten years, during which they might foolishly consider launching an attack on Israel, we would be able to totally obliterate them."

Good sweet Jesus, somebody please cut her mike. >>>

It's hard to even know where to begin on this refreshing bit of idiocy. To her scant credit, one probably shouldn't treat this as a policy directive; more appallingly, this is just a bit of saber-rattling before an election. But let's examine the fundamentals for a moment.

What Clinton just offered up is a unilateral guarantee to put Israel under the American nuclear umbrella. However, since Israel maintains its own nuclear deterrent, Clinton's guarantee does not measurably add to Israel's security. Moreover, it is unknown - and unknowable, since Israel has carefully maintained ambiguity over its nuclear forces - whether Clinton's guarantee is even something thought desirable in Jerusalem. Given that Israel has land, air and sea-based delivery capabilities, it is a safe bet that Israel has retaliatory capacities that would survive a first strike, rendering Clinton's new guarantee of no practical value.

Clinton fundamentally misunderstands - again, to the limited extent one should treat this as an honest statement on the day of an election she's waging on her 'toughness' - the situation inside Iran, the American national interest, Israeli security concerns and the tools available to American diplomacy.

Iran is a striking example of a disconnect between a people and its rulers probably not all that alien to Americans in the Bush era. A poll of Iran (.pdf) conducted in 2007 found the following:

Developing nuclear weapons was seen as a very important priority for the Iranian government by only 29% of Iranians. By contrast, 88% of Iranians considered improving the Iranian economy as a very important priority for their government.

Rather, 80% of Iranians favor Iran providing full inspections and a guarantee not to develop or possess nuclear weapons in return for outside aid. A majority of Iranians (52%) also favor the development of nuclear weapons and believe that the people of Iran would live in a safer world if Iran possessed nuclear weapons. However, support for nuclear weapons drops to below 17% if Iran were to receive outside assistance in return for full inspections and a guarantee not to have nuclear weapons.

68% of Iranians also favor normal relations and trade with the United States. In return for normal relations, a majority of Iranians favor recognizing Israel and Palestine as independent states, ending Iranian support for any armed groups inside Iraq, and full transparency by Iran to the United States to ensure there are no Iranian endeavors to develop nuclear weapons.

The polls most important finding is this:

Yet the most significant finding of our survey for Iran's present rulers may be the Iranian people's opposition to their current system of government.

61% of Iranians were willing to tell our pollsters over the phone that they oppose the current Iranian system of government, where the Supreme Leader rules according to religious principles and cannot be chosen or replaced by direct vote of the people.

The actual situation inside Iran makes clear that that country offers more opportunities for American engagement than to be bombed into a parking lot, opportunities that a Democratic administration would be well positioned to exploit.

Viewed from Israel's point of view - the ostensible benefactor of Clinton's plan - there really is no question that an outcome whereby the two countries have normal relations and Iran is non-nuclear is the most desirable scenario. This outcome could be achieved by a dual strategy of reciprocal trade agreements, aid to Iran and a security guarantee of some sort, combined with a push inside the country to empower the majority that sees economic development as their first national priority. It won't be achieved by a redundant nuclear guarantee - if anything, the reverse is probably more likely, given that Clinton just incented Iran to move ahead on its nuclear program. That's coincidentally not an argument from pacifism - it's one of effectiveness.

From the (to me all-important) perspective of the American national interest, Clinton's threats are absurd verging on the tragicomic. Neither America nor our ally Israel gain security from her proposal; quite the contrary. Nor will our other interests in the region - stability in Iraq, free shipping through the Gulf, stability in the Gulf monarchies - be positively affected. If anything, Iran's hardline government now has a fresh tool to convince its population that nuclear weapons are in that country's best interest, and an incentive to distract American policy-makers, probably by using their Iraqi, Lebanese, Shiite Arab and Palestinian proxies. It's worth pointing out that Iran borders two countries in which the United States is currently conducting military operations, and that Tehran has been very skillful at creating headaches for our foreign policy objectives. Clinton just clarified that American bellicosity towards Tehran is not just an aberration of the Bush years, but seemingly part of a bi-partisan consensus. That reduces the likelihood that a new Clinton administration, itself highly unlikely, might find cooperation from Iran as we withdraw our troops from Iraq, roughly to zero. Make no mistake: Iran is now invested in making things very difficult indeed for Clinton 3, and they have all the tools they need for that purpose.

Further abroad, in the capitals of our allies, it's a safe bet that Clinton's ideas will be received with horror. The Bush administration is not detested abroad only because of Iraq; it is also hated for its unilateralism and its lack of calculability. Clinton just promised to follow in Bush's footsteps on both; there won't be any consultation with allies, one supposes, before the rockets launch.

With regard to domestic politics, well, John McCain must be pleased. There goes the argument that he's too hawkish on Iran.

That's a pretty steep price to pay for some pre-election chest-thumping.

Tags: Foreign Policy Debacle, Hillary Clinton, Iran, Recommended (all tags)

Comments

307 Comments

Tips

for foreign policy realism. Not whatever you want to call this newest debacle.

by MBNYC 2008-04-21 05:39PM | 0 recs
Foreign policy realism?
Any Realist practitioner, advisor or theorist would tell you that Obama's kumbaya, no conditions talk is completely opposite realism- particularly game theory.
by linc 2008-04-21 05:44PM | 0 recs
Re: Foreign policy realism?

Kudos, and let's seriously think about this.

Iran attacks Israel -- or ANY U.S. ally -- WITH A NUCLEAR WEAPON and we don't attack Iran. What kind of message does that send? This isn't about hawkishness or doveness this is about pure common sense. There's no way, under any president, that the U.S. would not retaliate. Thank you Senator Clinton for being a foreign policy realist.

by VAAlex 2008-04-21 05:47PM | 0 recs
Re: Foreign policy realism?

I clicked on the link and read the article and saw no mention of a nuclear weapon. It just said if Iran attacks Israel.

by Becky G 2008-04-21 05:50PM | 0 recs
Re: Foreign policy realism?

Correction - I reread it and the Question asks about a nuclear weapon. I didn't realize that. I just read the response.

by Becky G 2008-04-21 05:52PM | 0 recs
The thing that REALLY scares me is..

when nuclear weapons go off, how do we know WHO set them off?

We don't.

by architek 2008-04-21 06:16PM | 0 recs
BTW, you are completely misrepresenting what HRC

said..  She said that if any of the nations in the Middle East attacked any other nation, WITH NUCLEAR WEAPONS - we would get involved

by architek 2008-04-21 06:44PM | 0 recs
The thing that REALLY scares me is...
The OBLITERATOR!!!!!!

The Obliterator
by edmandspath 2008-04-21 06:46PM | 0 recs
So Obamites don't care if Israel is Nuked?

That clinches it.  What planet are you people infesting?

by internetstar 2008-04-21 10:02PM | 0 recs
Re: So Obamites don't care if Israel is Nuked?

I hope Obama weighs in here...it would be great if he came out against retaliating against Iran.

by switching sides 2008-04-21 10:29PM | 0 recs
Re: The thing that REALLY scares me is...

These comments are exactly why I want Hillary as President. The hypothetical question by Cuomo and answer by Clinton bares no resemblence to the Iraq situation, being that country was unilaterally attacked while in this scenario Nuclear weapons would be used against our closest ally in the region. I'm sure if the Cuomo scenario proved true Obama would give a speech on why we should hope that Iran doesn't attack us because defending our allies and security would be the old Washington insider way of doing things.

by NJDEM1 2008-04-22 12:32AM | 0 recs
Re: Foreign policy realism?

Same question without benefit of the softball, with a nuclear weapon attached... and that is a softball freakin' question, because d'uh...

I bet she answers he same way...  any attack on Israel by Iran, even retaliatory will be me with a militaristic response from the U.S....  either a political ploy o shout-out to the Jewish voters or a pretty hawkish stance..  you be the judge.

by JenKinFLA 2008-04-21 05:50PM | 0 recs
GWB macho rhetoric

Iran does not have a nuclear bomb. Why is she threatening to obliterate Iran? What is the point of cooking up some make believe scenario out of a  lame 24 episode so you can do a GWB imitation of showing how tough you are.

If I were an Iranian having heard Bush's neo cons brag about Iran being next after Iraq and now having the Democratic candidate going on about obliterating Iran and massive retaliation. I'd probably want some deterrence. No one has even suggested invading North Korea despite the fact that the North Korean dictator makes even the Ayatollahs look benevolent.

To say this juvenile chest thumping is counter productive is an understatement. Channeling GWB so you can look tough for an election is pretty pathetic.

by hankg 2008-04-21 05:59PM | 0 recs
Re: GWB macho rhetoric

Did you actually read the ABC article? This is a hypothetical. If Iran were to attack Israel WITH A NUCLEAR WEAPON she would retaliate. How is this controversial? This isn't about chest-thumping, and in fact what any president would do.

by VAAlex 2008-04-21 06:03PM | 0 recs
Re: GWB macho rhetoric

It isn't... hat's why it was a softball freakin question...  but what if someone else attacks Israel without a nuclear weapon...  what if Iran attacks in retaliation for an Israeli strike... what then?

by JenKinFLA 2008-04-21 06:31PM | 0 recs
Re: GWB macho rhetoric

Then those are completely different questions, aren't they?

by Denny Crane 2008-04-21 06:41PM | 0 recs
Re: GWB macho rhetoric

Which ABC didn't ask, but Keith Olbermann came close....

by JenKinFLA 2008-04-21 06:48PM | 0 recs
Re: GWB macho rhetoric

What about if an Iranian shepherd steals a quarter from an Israeli meter maid?

What then, huh?  Huh?

They didn't ask THAT question, did they?

Huh?  Huh?

by switching sides 2008-04-21 10:32PM | 0 recs
Re: GWB macho rhetoric

Actually she first said that if Iran attacks ANY middle eastern country. Thank god she lost this election so we don't have to worry about a Margret Thatcher wanna be.

by venician 2008-04-21 06:43PM | 0 recs
Re: GWB macho rhetoric

Actually she first said that if Iran attacks ANY middle eastern country.

No she didn't and quite misrepresenting the facts.

She said in regards to other M/E countries, that those who would give up their aspirations to procure a nuclear program and participate in a 'Nuclear Umbrella' of protection, that if Iran attacked them there would be massive retaliation.

So, if she were able to get Iran to forgo getting Nukes then great.  If not, and they get nukes, then the deterent is there for the Iranians.  Know now, if you attack Israel or any other country that has agreed to give up nuclear ambitions rather than start a nuclear arms race in the region, there will be massive consequences.  Deterence works when there is an actual saber to rattle, instead of just words.  They work together, but one is not effective w/out the other.

And this is what she's said.

by TxDem08 2008-04-21 07:59PM | 0 recs
by venician 2008-04-21 08:06PM | 0 recs
Re: GWB macho rhetoric

When a candidate for President and a sitting Senator uses the word "obliterate" in reference to another sovereign nation, how can you call it anything but "chest pounding"?

by emptythreatsfarm 2008-04-21 07:04PM | 0 recs
Re: GWB macho rhetoric

When in answer to a hypothetical use of an attack by an acknowledged enemy of the United States launching a NUCLEAR ATTACK against an ally of the U.S., then I'd say she's dead on. I may not have used obliterated, but her argument is dead on.

by VAAlex 2008-04-21 07:06PM | 0 recs
Re: GWB macho rhetoric

Iran is not my enemy.

Please excuse me if I don't buy into Bush's whole Axis of Evil thing.

by emptythreatsfarm 2008-04-21 07:09PM | 0 recs
Re: GWB macho rhetoric

"You" have nothing to do with setting U.S. policy. It is about those setting U.S. policy and the interests of the country. And yeah, Iran is an enemy of the United States, rightfully so.

by VAAlex 2008-04-21 07:12PM | 0 recs
Gawd.

And if George Bush had said the same thing, you'd be outraged.

Don't even try.

by MBNYC 2008-04-21 07:17PM | 0 recs
Re: Gawd.

Not at all. "Don't even try" to put words on my mouth.

by VAAlex 2008-04-21 07:27PM | 0 recs
So you wouldn't be outraged

if Bush threatened a nuclear strike on Iran.

All I need to know, thanks, bye.

by MBNYC 2008-04-21 07:30PM | 0 recs
Re: So you wouldn't be outraged

If Bush answered the question the same way as posed above, as a hypothetical (I know you hate that word since it destroys your case), I definitely would not be outraged. Happy?

by VAAlex 2008-04-21 07:34PM | 0 recs
Happy?

No, actually, that's really sad.

by MBNYC 2008-04-21 07:39PM | 0 recs
Re: Happy?

Well, since I can't talk you into befriending a dictionary, I'll just wish you a good night.

by VAAlex 2008-04-21 07:42PM | 0 recs
Befriending a dictionary

lmao, good one....MBNYC needs to go back to sixth grade civics class...

by switching sides 2008-04-21 10:35PM | 0 recs
Re: GWB macho rhetoric

Actually, I do.  It is a republic, and I vote.

I voted for Obama.

Unless I missed it, I haven't heard too much chest pounding from his corner.  It seems like he's been talking more about diplomacy and dialogue.

by emptythreatsfarm 2008-04-21 07:37PM | 0 recs
Re: GWB macho rhetoric

When he gets asked this question over the next couple of days -- and I really, really, hope he does -- I will love to see his response.

by VAAlex 2008-04-21 07:43PM | 0 recs
Re: GWB macho rhetoric

So you are telling me that in a hypothetical situation Obama will sit down and "talk" with Iran after they just launched a nuclear attack on Israel? You think that is their intentions to talk after they nuked Tel Aviv? What logic is that? "Sure Mr. Supreme Leader, we will talk, just give me a sec while we help Israel clean up after the 500,000 you killed."

by RJEvans 2008-04-21 10:09PM | 0 recs
Re: GWB macho rhetoric

Umm...s/he can speak to potential US policy by voting.  

Unless s/he lives in a caucus state or somewhere that usually goes red.  Then s/he doesn't count.

by freedom78 2008-04-21 08:45PM | 0 recs
Re: GWB macho rhetoric

Really?  They are much more your enemy than Iraq was.  They are much more your enemy than the PLO or even Hamas.

They are the brains behind the muscle.  They are the ones you have to be very careful of.  Iran while funding terrorism around the world and dangerous as it is, would be a relatively passive and mild adversary compared to an Iran with nuclear weapons and the ability to deliver them, which they have.

Iran is your enemy...whether you want to buy into it or not.  It will not change the facts.  How we deal with the diplomatically and militarily are the variables, not the constants.  But the equation, once you solve for it, remains the same.  Iran is your enemy.

by TxDem08 2008-04-21 08:08PM | 0 recs
I may not have used "obliterated"

Obama probably wouldn't use "bitter" if he could go back in time. But he can't, and neither can Hillary.

This is "bitter" on steroids.

Tasty, no?

by edmandspath 2008-04-21 07:22PM | 0 recs
Re: I may not have used "obliterated"

Except it's not. One's about the fundamental security of the country, another is about a presidential candidate's elitist views on small-towners.

by VAAlex 2008-04-21 07:28PM | 0 recs
Correction.

One is about nuking a country of over sixty million people. The other is not.

Go ahead, your "hypotheticals" talking point would fit nicely here.

by MBNYC 2008-04-21 07:42PM | 0 recs
Re: Correction.

Unlike you, I know when to stop beating a dead horse. You can't seem to understand the meaning of the word, and it's not my job to teach you.

When it moves beyond the range of discussion and you refuse to acknowledge the basic meaning of a word and go from there, then there's really no point.

by VAAlex 2008-04-21 07:45PM | 0 recs
What you need

isn't a dictionary to haggle over a given term, you need a primer on proliferation and what makes it more likely. Hint: threatening a nuclear attack falls under the "more likely" category. That's why the hypothetical is completely irrelevant to this discussion.

by MBNYC 2008-04-21 08:18PM | 0 recs
Re: What you need

If Iran nuked Israel, I would hope that Hillary nuked downtown Tehran and then used the real estate to sell parking spots for ten bucks apiece to evil Jewish bankers bent on world domination.

How's that?  Are you outraged yet?

by switching sides 2008-04-21 10:38PM | 0 recs
Re: What you need

Don't bother with this person, since s/he's pretty clearly set on not listening anymore. It's a waste of your time, trust me. Nothing you change, no matter how much common sense, and yes, his own words, you respond with, it won't change.

So save your breath, buddy.

by VAAlex 2008-04-22 05:51AM | 0 recs
Re: Foreign policy realism?

Oh sure, in response to the indiscriminate murder of  hundreds of thousands of innocent people, the correct response is the indiscriminate murder of a million more.  That makes sense, eh?

While I can understand Hillary's MAD posturing; your  enthusiastic bloodthirstiness is just freaking disturbing.  (And before you ask, they could bomb an American city and kill my own family; and I'd still oppose a retaliatory revenge use of nuclear weapons.)  It's wrong.  IT'S WRONG!

by rb608 2008-04-21 06:53PM | 0 recs
Re: Foreign policy realism?

Then we are in disagreement. What keeps comforting me after reading all these disturbing comments on here saying this is somehow wrong, is that these sentiments are not shared by anyone anywhere near setting actual foreign policy.

by VAAlex 2008-04-21 07:08PM | 0 recs
Most people setting forign policy

don't believe in the value of threatening nuclear strikes on non-nuclear states. The rationale advanced for that - cf. Korea, North - is that this breeds proliferation.

by MBNYC 2008-04-21 07:44PM | 0 recs
Re: Most people setting forign policy

I think the reaction of any rational middle-eastern head of state to recent US foreign policy would be to get a nuclear weapon as soon as possible.

Threatening to nuke Iran (again!) even as a hypothetical, doesn't help.  btw, Israel has its own nuclear arsenal.

by Mostly 2008-04-21 10:17PM | 0 recs
Re: Most people setting forign policy

"""don't believe in the value of threatening nuclear strikes on non-nuclear states. The rationale advanced for that - cf. Korea, North - is that this breeds proliferation.
"""

Oh yes, we wouldn't want to give Iran a reason to start wanting to develop nuclear weapons, now would we?

After all, they'd have to stop spending so much money on their candy cane forests and lemon drop sidewalks that they walk on when travelling to their honeysuckle rivers.

by switching sides 2008-04-21 10:41PM | 0 recs
Re: Most people setting forign policy

You've got a lot of catching up to do.  There's an NIE report to read and decades of history to understand.

The US picked Iraq as a target because it was militarily weak.  End of argument.

by Mostly 2008-04-21 10:50PM | 0 recs
Re: Foreign policy realism?

While I can understand Hillary's MAD posturing;

Then that's all you need to understand.  What has kept many countries from using a 1st strike option or use of nukes in a limited engagement conflict is the threatened retalitory strike against their targets.

I appreciate your sentiments and your regard for human life, however I feel much more comfortable knowing that I would have a CNC that knows the stakes and the steps that are necessary to not only protect America, but our allies.

by TxDem08 2008-04-21 08:25PM | 0 recs
Re: Foreign policy realism?

To clarify my point a bit - I grew up in the days of "duck and cover", and I've seen how the continuous threat of nuclear annihilation can affect an entire nation.  It's not a good thing, and it's a level of fear no CIC should willingly subject his population to.  

When I say I understand her posturing, that does not mean I agree with it.  She has, with that statement, indicated a willingness to return to the days of bomb shelters and mutually assured destruction, and she's done it without an indication of willingness to solve our problems with Iran diplomatically.  If you must threaten another country with nuclear destruction, you have failed as a leader, not shown your strength.

by rb608 2008-04-22 02:21AM | 0 recs
Re: Foreign policy realism?

lol

by switching sides 2008-04-22 03:35AM | 0 recs
Re: Foreign policy realism?

And again, let me thank you for so ably demonstrating the cogent arguments and analysis so often employed by HRC supporters in response to such foolishness as mine.  I know that with HRC in the WH, a cavalier attitude to nuclear holocaust can finally return to this nation.

by rb608 2008-04-22 03:40AM | 0 recs
This is not about what the US would do.

The blunder lies in talking about 'obliterating Iran'. (Both the choice of topic and the choice of rhetoric on the eve of an important primary are despicable)

International diplomatic relations are much more sensitive and complicated than domestic policy discourse exactly because of the different parties, perspectives and perils involved.

by aufklaerer 2008-04-22 02:56AM | 0 recs
Re: Foreign policy realism?

And her rapid response troops for this security umbrella are going to be stationed where... Iraq...?  Crickey, we are already there, why leave, right?  And the surge is working too....

by JenKinFLA 2008-04-21 05:48PM | 0 recs
What on earth does your comment
have to do with mine?
by linc 2008-04-21 05:49PM | 0 recs
Re: What on earth does your comment

you were looking for reality.... I think Clinton is a hawk.  She is talking like a hawk (except on the campaign trail)... she has voted like a hawk...

That's her foreign policy reality

by JenKinFLA 2008-04-21 05:53PM | 0 recs
Realism
is not a reflection of reality. It is one theory that purports to describe reality, but that is all. I was not looking for anything, merely pointing out to the author that his use of the term was non necessarily appropriate or truthful.
by linc 2008-04-21 06:03PM | 0 recs
Re: What on earth does your comment

How is responding to an attack on Israel with a nuclear weapon by Iran considered hawkishness? This isn't hawkishness, I'd say it's foreign policy 101.

by VAAlex 2008-04-21 06:04PM | 0 recs
Re: What on earth does your comment

I wasn't referring to the softball question from Cuoma, but what she said during the debate.

by JenKinFLA 2008-04-21 06:31PM | 0 recs
Re: What on earth does your comment

"""How is responding to an attack on Israel with a nuclear weapon by Iran considered hawkishness? This isn't hawkishness, I'd say it's foreign policy 101."""

Not for hard leftists (not progressives, but these bitter haters we've been seeing lately).

For them, even wanting to buy bullets for the army is considered 'hawkishness'.  Hell, having an army AT ALL is tantamount to being GW's footstool.

These people are unhinged.  I think it's time for them to form their own party.

I'm sick of them. They are the reason that we get laughed out of any foreign policy debate.  People think we think like them.

by switching sides 2008-04-21 10:44PM | 0 recs
Re: What on earth does your comment

It's Bush/Cheney foreign policy. Once again it begs the question, which team is Hillary playing  on?

by venician 2008-04-21 06:45PM | 0 recs
Re: What on earth does your comment

If Obama responds in the same way, I would like you to call his foreign policy Bush/Cheney as well. Deal?

by VAAlex 2008-04-21 06:48PM | 0 recs
Re: What on earth does your comment

Obama has stated that he wants to open up dialogs with those nations Bush/Hillary deem the axis of evil. Once again it seems Hillary has not bothered to read the NIE. The latest reports that Iran has stopped it's efforts to acquire nuclear weapons. Does she ever listen to the intelligent community, or does she only listen and follow Bush?

by venician 2008-04-21 07:09PM | 0 recs
Re: What on earth does your comment

Do you understand the point of a hypothetical? Apparently, according to you and a lot of Obama supporters on here, hypothetical questions about foreign policy are off-limits now too. This is NOT a positive but it really is evasiveness. If he won't answer this question, then I guess I really would start to question whether he's fir to be CinC. I've never done it before, but this is a basic matter of the security of the country.

Just a part of the same-old slash-and-burn politics, right?

"Senator Obama, we have a hypothetical question for you regarding a foreign policy issue."
"Oh, there you go again, with the politics of the past."

Am I about right?

by VAAlex 2008-04-21 07:15PM | 0 recs
Re: What on earth does your comment

"One of the jobs of a president is being very reasoned in approaching these issues," Hillary Clinton said to a hypothetical question about sending ground troops to Darfur. "And I don't think it's useful to be talking in these kinds of abstract hypothetical terms." Aug. 2, 2007

So what now?  Is there any area that you are not willing to be hypocritical on?

by nklein 2008-04-21 09:11PM | 0 recs
Re: What on earth does your comment

What's wrong in being a "hawk" (in your words) and being "tough" in my words?

Do you even know that American people, in those rural places, like toughness in their leaders? Will you invite Iran to come nuke NY after they are done nuking Israel?

Everyone was in favor of bombing Afghanistan when Taliban attacked NY. So if you attack an ally of mine, I will use the threat of attacking you back. That is called deterrent.

by Sandeep 2008-04-22 12:11AM | 0 recs
Re: Foreign policy realism?

She is not talking about rapid response troops, only you are.  She is responding to a hypothetical question regarding the use of Nukes from Iran on the state of Israel...or...other M/E countries that have given up their pursuit of a nuke weapon/stockpile in order for certain guarantees and security.

And by the way...we have bases in Kuwait and Qatar and Turkey.  We don't need to be in Iraq...but like Ms. Powers said Obama's plans could change depending on events on the ground and...ONLY HILLARY...has a concrete plan that she will abide by to start bringing troops home from Iraq.

by TxDem08 2008-04-21 08:35PM | 0 recs
Re: Foreign policy realism?

Obama changes his position on Iraq depending on who's asking the question.

Most likely Obama will keep us in Iraq for another 50 years.  He hasn't got the cajones to pull us out.

by switching sides 2008-04-21 10:47PM | 0 recs
Oh, believe me

I'm not too happy about some of Obama's foreign policy ideas. But I'm a bit more unhappy about Clinton threatening nuclear annihilation on a given country when that creates no actual policy benefit to anyone concerned.

by MBNYC 2008-04-21 05:48PM | 0 recs
Re: Oh, believe me

Sen. Clinton never threatened nuclear annihilation at all. In fact she never mentioned U.S. use of nuclear weapons. We both know you dislike Sen. Clinton, but please be accurate.

by VAAlex 2008-04-21 05:55PM | 0 recs
Chill.

I suggest you'd benefit from reading what I actually wrote and quoted, not what you think I did in my capacity as a supporter of her opponent.

by MBNYC 2008-04-21 05:59PM | 0 recs
Re: Chill.

Sadly, I did.

But I'm a bit more unhappy about Clinton threatening nuclear annihilation on a given country when that creates no actual policy benefit to anyone concerned.

Two comments up. "Clinton threatening nuclear annihilation." If you're going to argue a misguided point, at least accurately quote yourself.

by VAAlex 2008-04-21 06:05PM | 0 recs
You really don't

want to get it, do you?

The key goal right now is to keep Iran nuke-free. That's in everyone's best interest. The correct answer for her would have been, "Ya know, when I'm President" - hahaha! - "I'll see to it that we deter Iran from developing nukes".

Is there any Clinton preposterousness that you won't defend? What are the limits?

by MBNYC 2008-04-21 06:19PM | 0 recs
Re: You really don't

Once again, engaging with you seems to be a bit like talking to a brick wall. You keep insulting Clinton and her supporters, you keep making snide remarks and then not defending them, and you keep ignoring the issue.

I get that Iran needs to be kept nuke-free, I agree, but you use that as an assault on Clinton. Why, I have no idea. If Iran is able to launch nuclear weapons, that means that nuclear deterrence has not worked. The first part of the diary presupposes that the second part has failed. So don't be confusing the two and attacking Clinton for it when you can't seem to understand the difference.

by VAAlex 2008-04-21 06:30PM | 0 recs
Pardon me?

Your premise is that, essentially, I'm a dishonest hack, but I'm insulting?

Hillary Clinton just threatened a nuclear attack - that's what "completely obliterate" could reasonably be understood to say - on a non-nuclear power. I see you seem not to have offered up as I asked below, what "completely obliterate" could mean other than that. So you're the one who's not defending his remarks, snide or otherwise.

Next, you need to get over your defend-Clinton-at-all-costs approach if you want to be taken seriously. Once again, she just threatened a nuclear attack - that's serious business. Claiming she didn't actually say that, as you attempted to do, doesn't create th impression you're arguing in good faith.

And lastly, I'm glad we agree on preventing Iran from going nuclear. That's American foreign-policy consensus. Now, please explain to me how threatening them with an attack, even as retaliation, is going to keep them that way.

The answer is that it won't. What makes that even less explicable is that an American deterrent isn't even needed, not that any Clinton supporter in this entire thread has seen fit to address that not entirely tangential point.

If we're concerned about Israel's security, which we are and should be, maybe we should check with the Jerusalem government and ask them what they prefer: a non-nuclear Iran, or a nuked Iran after that country has itself nuked Israel. Those are the options today. Unfortunately, Hillary decided to go with the easy applause line instead of making a case against the hypothetical she was offered. If you think that's not a deliberate choice driven by political necessity, then I really can't help you, and this conversation will remain without mutual benefit.

by MBNYC 2008-04-21 06:52PM | 0 recs
Re: Pardon me?

This is infuriating because you again fail to acknowledge the issue which you yourself quoted above. And you conveniently forgot to bold the complete hypothetical, but let me do that for you.

Clinton further displayed tough talk in an interview airing on Good Morning America Tuesday, ABC News' Chris Cuomo asked Clinton what she would do if Iran attacked Israel with nuclear weapons.

"I want the Iranians to know that if I'm the president we will attack Iran," Clinton said.

If you want to keep ignoring the fact that this was something brought to her, not something she brought up herself, then be my guest but you're wrong, even according to your own words.

And I never called you a hack. I'm just saying you're playing a very familiar game -- a seemingly reasonable argument which is complete and total nonsense when you take a look at it. When your entire case rests on selectively ignoring part of the very case you're trying to make, I can't really take it seriously.

And I will mea culpa that she meant nuclear retaliation, but my point still stands. Would I have used the word obliterate? Probably not, but the point still stands, and it's one that has been pretty solidly part of U.S. history for some time now. Ever hear of MAD? The whole point of it is nuclear deterrence. BUT, if a nuclear weapon IS launched, that presupposes by definition that nuclear deterrence has in fact failed, since it didn't deter anything. That's the whole point of MAD!

Threatening them with an attack in case of retaliation is not only standard U.S. foreign policy but is basic national security 101. Um, any country would say "if you attack me or my allies, I will retaliate." That's the whole point of alliances and protection.

What I find problematic is you attempt to tie nuclear deterrence to Clinton's answer on this. If you have a problem with the 'obliterate' part, that's fine, but again, your first part presupposes that the second part has failed. Nothing you say changes this.

by VAAlex 2008-04-21 07:23PM | 0 recs
Re: Pardon me?

What the hell? Israel has both first and second strike capabilities.  The US does not have to retaliate.

What the hell do you think a response would be to a US nucleur attack on a muslim country?

by afr114 2008-04-21 07:48PM | 0 recs
Re: Pardon me?

The same response as an Irsaeli attack on a Muslim country. If you think the Israel wouldn't ask for the States' help -- and the U.S. wouldn't jump to give it -- then that's fine, it's your belief, but it's not really in keeping with U.S. foreign policy.

by VAAlex 2008-04-21 07:52PM | 0 recs
Re: Pardon me?

It's not a very good foreign policy, if you think that the US would Nuke another country on behalf of Israel. Dude, step away from the kool-aid.  Israel has both first and second strike capabilities.  Iran isn't going to be launching any nukes.

The US doesnt need to be launching nukes and getting retaliated in kind by WMD from countries fighting other nations wars.

by afr114 2008-04-21 08:01PM | 0 recs
Re: Pardon me?

Funny.

You're a comedian.

by switching sides 2008-04-21 10:49PM | 0 recs
Your "analysis"

makes me happy that I won't have to live with another Clinton White House. Ecstatic might be a better word.

We've been over all of this before, and you seem to be one of those "I will have the last word if it kills me" types, but I'll just reiterate my points: the fact that her answer came in response to a hypothetical is irrelevant. She described a scenario under which she would launch massive retaliation against a county that is not a nuclear-weapons state. This matters, because it provides that state with an incentive to acquire such weapons. This is not a case of being tough; it is one of being stupid. Really, there are no more potent proliferation incentives than threatening a country with a nuclear attack.

Second, as noted in the diary, her guarantee adds nothing to Israel's endogenous deterrent. Israel does not need this U.S. guarantee. What it does need is sustained American engagement to keep Iran non-nuclear, which Clinton's ill-advised election-eve pandering just made a lot harder to sustain.

And lastly, as I rather meticulously laid out, Iran is a fertile field for positive American engagement. Our interests and those of Israel, not to mention our other allies in the region, would benefit from such engagement. Clinton's pre-emptive threat to turn the country into a glass parking lot just deeply hurt our chances, if she's President, to create a security framework that both restrains Tehran and protects our interests. Thank God she will never be President.

It was, in short, an unforced stupidity. That she'd say this while obviously pandering for votes really says all that needs to be said about her seriousness as both a candidate and a potential leader. This was a distinctly non-impressive performance.

So, I'm sure you want the last word. Go for it, champ.

by MBNYC 2008-04-21 07:58PM | 0 recs
Re: Your "analysis"

Israel may not need the deterent, yet the 'Umbrella' she offers to the other countries to reject the need to pursue or become a buyer of nuclear proliferation material or create their own project themselves, is more to the point of what she was talking about.

And in different scenarios 'if' the Iranian gov't. were to acquire or produce enough material for at a minimum 4 weapons in the 50 kiloton range, that would be more than enough to wipe Israel (and Palestine-which would be counter to Iran's stated goals) off the map.  That means they only have to produce around 400 kg's of enriched P to achieve that amount.

So here's another hypothetical since you like them so much.  The Iranian's produce that amount. They strike Israel.  They practically wipe it off the map. -- Do we stand idly by?  Or do we attack them now that Israel's first and second response ability is now non-existent?  Also something to consider...the flight time from Tehran to Tel Aviv for an ICBM that has a range of 4,300 miles; will cover the 993 miles in just 15 minutes.  So if Israel detects the launch --at launch-- then they will have 12 minutes to launch their own.

Enjoy.

by TxDem08 2008-04-21 09:22PM | 0 recs
Re: You really don't

You're being completely disingenuous here.  Hillary Clinton has said that Iran can't be allowed to have nuclear weapons about 10,000 times. If you didn't know that, shame on you for not doing your homework.  If you did know itand just chose not to mention it because it doesn't suit your smear campaign, well, that says something else about you entirely.

As I have long said and will continue to say, U.S. policy must be clear and unequivocal: We cannot, we should not, we must not permit Iran to build or acquire nuclear weapons.

John Edwards and Barack Obama have exactly the same position. Your whole diary is a ridiculous straw man and everyone knows it.  Moveon even praised that comment above as providing much neaded leadership on Iran.

by Denny Crane 2008-04-21 06:49PM | 0 recs
John Edwards and Barack Obama

also didn't go on national television to threaten a nuclear attack on a non-nuclear state. You're talking about two completely different things.

I have to say, the responses here really are quite interesting.

by MBNYC 2008-04-21 07:22PM | 0 recs
Re: John Edwards and Barack Obama

Again, she didn't go on national TV and threaten a nuclear attack; she answered a hypothetical.

The way you word it implies that she went on TV for the express purpose of doing what you're implying. Which is simply not true.

by VAAlex 2008-04-21 07:26PM | 0 recs
Yes, we know.

You've spammed your hypothetical dodge here at least twenty times. People understand that you're serious about getting it widely distributed.

But again, that the question is a hypothetical is irrelevant to the matter at hand, though this won't deter you from further propagating it, I'm sure.

by MBNYC 2008-04-21 07:29PM | 0 recs
Re: Yes, we know.

Not only is it completely relevant, it is entirely the point. And it's not 'spamming', it's combating your obvious attempt to manipulate words and create a false issue when you know there's not one. And since after repeatedly having pointed out, using your own words, no less, that there is no issue here, you keep arguing it, then so be it.

This is honestly the first time I've seen you engage in this kind of blatant and intellectual dishonesty for cheap points -- and I do mean cheap since the intent here in the hypothetical was pretty clear.

by VAAlex 2008-04-21 07:32PM | 0 recs
Awesome.

So now I'm dishonest. What's next, ugly?

The simple fact is that your frenzied interjections are irrelevant. I've pointed this out at least five times. Now, you can post the same garbage twenty more times, but I've refuted it solidly enough to not have to rectify every single such statement by you.

by MBNYC 2008-04-21 08:02PM | 0 recs
Re: Awesome.

Buddy, you have not refuted anything. I've been reading your exchange with a friend and we both agree... you're a jackass.

by RJEvans 2008-04-21 10:20PM | 0 recs
MBNYC, the 'refuter'

Yeah, he's refuted, all right.

He's refuted any possibility to believe that he has at least a third grader's grasp of foreign policy.

by switching sides 2008-04-21 10:51PM | 0 recs
Does this need to be explained to you slowly...

b/c you obviously are not getting what MBNYC has been telling you.  The mere fact of her threatening massive retaliation (whether on a hypothetical question or not) damages our ability to restrain Iran especially on nuclear weaponization.  The actions of our nation and our nation's potential leaders have a global audience.  The people of Iran and the government will use this as propaganda.  Moreover, hardliners might be more encouraged to restart their weapons program, b/c a presidential candidate has just indicated a hardline position that would emanate from the U.S.

There is a reason people are up in arms about this statement.

by nklein 2008-04-21 09:41PM | 0 recs
Re: Does this need to be explained to you slowly..

"people" aren't up in arms.

A few bitter hard core Obamatons are manufacturing a scandal, and no one's biting.

by switching sides 2008-04-21 10:52PM | 0 recs
Re: Does this need to be explained to you slowly..

Your right, b/c just randomly this became an issue that was talked about on the Newshour, Keith Olberman, CNN and various other media outlets.

by nklein 2008-04-21 10:56PM | 0 recs
Re: Does this need to be explained to you slowly..

Are you so afraid of losing PA by double digits that you are trying to hard to create a story?

People out on the street are fine with what she said.

by Sandeep 2008-04-22 12:20AM | 0 recs
Re: Does this need to be explained to you slowly..

Most people on the street have no idea what she said.  The people who do I'm not concerned about, it's how the world's leadership will interpret her remarks that concerns me.

Oh, and we'll see about PA.  I'm not worried in the least.  I'm almost positive that she will win by less than ten.  I know that no matter what happens in PA Obama has already won.

by nklein 2008-04-22 02:19AM | 0 recs
Re: Does this need to be explained to you slowly..

Good, you keep thinking that...but you better start making the "__ stole the election" bumper stickers.

by switching sides 2008-04-22 03:36AM | 0 recs
Re: Does this need to be explained to you slowly..

I would if I was going to turn against the Dem nominee, which I won't.  Moreover, listen to Chuck Todd, Obama has won this on the pledged delegate count.  He's winning superdelegates everyday and he'll win the nomination.  It's just a question of when.

by nklein 2008-04-22 07:11PM | 0 recs
Re: John Edwards and Barack Obama

Do you like lying? Clinton never outright threatened a nuclear attack on Iran. She said if Israel was attacked with nukes by Iran, the U.S. will attack Iran. What do you not get? I get you hate Clinton, but man, get your head in the right place.

by RJEvans 2008-04-21 10:18PM | 0 recs
Re: Oh, believe me

She just did on Olbermann...

by JenKinFLA 2008-04-21 06:32PM | 0 recs
Re: Oh, believe me

"No actual policy benefit"

It's called nuclear deterrence through credible threat.

by Apostle 2008-04-21 05:55PM | 0 recs
Which is unnecessary

when the country you're trying to deter is non-nuclear, and you have policy options available to you to keep it that way.

by MBNYC 2008-04-21 05:58PM | 0 recs
Re: Which is unnecessary

The hypothetical was: if Israel was attacked with nuclear weapons.

I'm sure you would agree she answered reasonably given that case.  If they remain non-nuclear they'd have a hard time nuking Israel right?

Your diary is purposefully misleading.

by Apostle 2008-04-21 06:01PM | 0 recs
Actually, no.

The hypothetical itself is false. But nice diversion, very artfully executed.

by MBNYC 2008-04-21 06:21PM | 0 recs
Re: Actually, no.

Do you understand the meaning of a hypothetical?

"Assumed by hypothesis; supposed."

In the question, it was assumed that Iran would have nuclear weapons. Please don't resort to distoring the meaning of words to attack Senator Clinton.

A hypothetical question was asked and answered. Perfectly reasonable, but apparently you have a huge problem with it.

by VAAlex 2008-04-21 06:51PM | 0 recs
Heh.

Yeah, a hypothetical involving a nuclear attack on a presently and hopefully permanently non-nuclear foreign country. Hard to imagine how anyone could have a problem with that.

by MBNYC 2008-04-21 07:24PM | 0 recs
Re: Heh.

A hypothetical buddy, a HYPOTHETICAL!

If for some reason diplomacy does not work and Iran develops the nuclear weapon and uses it on Israel, the U.S. will respond militarily.

HYPOTHETICAL.

You are making an issue out of the hypothetical.

by RJEvans 2008-04-21 10:23PM | 0 recs
BURN THIS DIARY

What a misleading piece of crap.

by switching sides 2008-04-21 10:54PM | 0 recs
I'm not your buddy.

Nor am I interested in being so designated. Buddy.

by MBNYC 2008-04-22 03:17AM | 0 recs
Re: I'm not your buddy.

Someone needs to start banning these trolls.  It's getting old.

by switching sides 2008-04-22 03:37AM | 0 recs
Starting with you, yes. nt.

by MBNYC 2008-04-22 03:41AM | 0 recs
Re: Actually, no.

Allow me to quote from the very beginning of your diary.

False hypothetical you say? So are you saying that Cuomo's the hack, or is it Olbermann, or is it you?

Clinton further displayed tough talk in an interview airing on Good Morning America Tuesday, ABC News' Chris Cuomo asked Clinton what she would do if Iran attacked Israel with nuclear weapons.

"I want the Iranians to know that if I'm the president we will attack Iran," Clinton said. "In the next ten years, during which they might foolishly consider launching an attack on Israel, we would be able to totally obliterate them."

by Apostle 2008-04-21 06:57PM | 0 recs
The only dishonest hacks,

as you put it, in evidence here are various Clintonites screaming to the rafters that this doesn't matter.

They also seem to be the only ones engaging in name-calling, but that's gravy.

As to the false hypothetical, if you still haven't grasped that Iran doesn't have nukes, seems to have discontinued - reports differ - its nuclear program, all of which has some material bearing on the hypothetical at hand, well, I'm not the person to help you.

by MBNYC 2008-04-21 07:27PM | 0 recs
Re: Oh, believe me

 Let BO finish eating his waffles,then he will have a response to an attack on Israel.
by gunner 2008-04-21 05:56PM | 0 recs
Re: Oh, believe me

So I guess with Hillary she's just push the button even if her nails were wet.

by venician 2008-04-21 07:13PM | 0 recs
Re: Foreign policy realism?

Realism is a group of similar theories, not a methodology.  But that aside, if the payouts are high enough for your "kumbaya" then it would make sense from a game theory perspective.  In other words, from a game theory perspective, Obama is assuming that the payouts of such talks will exceed the payouts of the status quo.  Considering that the real world payouts of NOT talking with Iran include higher gas prices and an increased security risk in the Middle East, I'd be inclined to say that potential payouts of engaging the Iranians are likely to be greater than those of the status quo.

And for those who care about such things, Hillary's comments about nuking Iran (from her interview on Olbermann, tonight) have decreased the payouts of voting for Clinton, for voters who want to lower gas prices or to prevent another war.

And, for the record, realists wouldn't have been for the war that Hillary voted for or the one she's saber rattling in advance of right now.  

by freedom78 2008-04-21 08:42PM | 0 recs
I won't troll-rate you

Because you put some work into the diary, and that is to be respected.

But the title is grossly dishonest.  If you'll read down the thread you'll see that a lot of people didn't even pick up on the fact that she was answering a question about Iran nuking Israel.  There's no clue in your title of any conditionality at all in the statement, just flat "I will attack Iran" thank you very much.

by Trickster 2008-04-21 07:48PM | 0 recs
Re: Tips

What a totally useless diary.

Burn this thing.

by switching sides 2008-04-21 10:33PM | 0 recs
Hehe.

And miss seeing you sputter?

No, I don't think so.

Have an awesome day :-)

by MBNYC 2008-04-22 03:22AM | 0 recs
MBNYC needs a vitamin B shot

You're starting to show your age.

by switching sides 2008-04-22 03:38AM | 0 recs
Ouch.

Actually, at my age, botox is more apropos.

Do you have anything useful to contribute, troll?

by MBNYC 2008-04-22 03:44AM | 0 recs
Tell me this is snark

It has to be, I mean there is no way she could say "we will attack Iran" you must have her out of context or else I am very afraid

by Student Guy 2008-04-21 05:40PM | 0 recs
Re: Tell me this is snark

She reiterated this on KO tonight.

:o(

by Veteran75 2008-04-21 05:41PM | 0 recs
Wow

That is scary.

by Student Guy 2008-04-21 05:43PM | 0 recs
Re: Wow

The context is: given Iran has attacked Israel with nuclear weapons.  Would you not want America to protect its allies through threat of retaliation? I'll give you the benefit of the doubt for being misled by MBNYC and Veteran, they are trying to deceive you.

by Apostle 2008-04-21 05:57PM | 0 recs
Once again...

...the Israelis have their own independent nuclear triad. This may have escaped you, it only having been pointed out about five times.

by MBNYC 2008-04-21 06:01PM | 0 recs
Re: Wow

Why is Hillary creating a make believe scenario in order to issue threats? She sounds like Dick Cheney. The Iranians don't have nuclear weapons.

The Iranian people are pretty sick of the Ayatollahs but every time an American neo-con threatens them with annihilation they rally around the flag. Is Hillary trying to shore up Iranians support for their unpopular government?

She voted for war in Iraq and Iran. Now she threatens Iran with obliteration in some neocon fantasy scenario so she can look tough for an election. She is not responsible enough to be President.  

by hankg 2008-04-21 06:05PM | 0 recs
Re: Wow

Um, she didn't create a make believe scenario, it was a question posed to her.

by VAAlex 2008-04-21 06:17PM | 0 recs
Re: Wow

It was an idiotic hypothetical question like "wouldn't you torture if you knew it could save the lives of a million people"? She should have pointed that out and talked about the realities on the ground rather then taking the opportunity to blather about kicking ass and obliterating countries.

Considering her remarks in the debate, her vote authorizing war with Iraq and then Iran, this is more of the Neo Con garbage that has failed us and Israel miserably.

by hankg 2008-04-22 12:49AM | 0 recs
Re: Wow

Why is Hillary creating a make believe scenario in order to issue threats? She sounds like Dick Cheney. The Iranians don't have nuclear weapons.

Jesus, are you just making this up as you go along?  She was asked a hypothetical question and she answered it.  Very simple. I feel reasonably confident that Hillary Clinton knows the Iranians don't have nuclear weapons.Like the answer, don't like the answer, but don't make stuff up.

by Denny Crane 2008-04-21 06:54PM | 0 recs
Re: Wow

My Dad said the same thing.  My mom reminded him that he was relatively confident that she was right on authorizing War on Iraq.  Look how that turned out!  I'm seriously scared by this type of talk.

How come she wants to ignore the evidence?  I want her to win, but at any and all costs?  jeepers!

by Chelseain32 2008-04-21 09:25PM | 0 recs
Re: Wow

Ignore what evidence?  What are you talking about?

by Denny Crane 2008-04-22 03:56AM | 0 recs
Re: Tell me this is snark

very similar to what she said in the debate:  

"I think that we should be looking to create an umbrella of deterrence that goes much further than just Israel," she said.

"We will let the Iranians know, that, yes, an attack on Israel would trigger massive retaliation, but so would an attack on those countries that are willing to go under the security umbrella and forswear their own nuclear ambitions."

She did not name specific countries to be a part of such an agreement.

Quoted from Reuters...  

There was no follow up question during the debate to ask her to clarify...  I guess that was why Cuomo asked the question....

by JenKinFLA 2008-04-21 05:44PM | 0 recs
That opens up

a whole different can of worms. For example, does the United States intervene in disputes between its new allies? What about non-nuclear threats not from Iran?

For someone who touts her experience, Clinton has developed the most bizarre foreign policy ideas I can recall from any Democrat, short of Kucinich (in the other direction, obviously).

by MBNYC 2008-04-21 06:03PM | 0 recs
Bizarre? I'd say brilliant

Of course there are questions.  Details, as in any diplomatic initiative, have to be hammered out between negotiators and to be negotiated politically at home, as well.  Not to mention the fact that she has only had a few seconds to describe the policy on the recent occasions where she has mentioned it.

I thought and think that, at least potentially, it's the best and most original foreign policy idea of either candidate during the entire campaign, and in fact I'd call it at least potentially the best American foreign policy initiative probably since Camp David, and maybe even more important than that historic set of accords.  An umbrella security organization of the Middle East will temper the impetus for the strongmen over there to play their biggest-dick games for regional power as they have done from time immemorial.  It would commit us to playing a role as a moderating force in the region.  It would ensure that our moderating role is actually on the side of moderation, because our new-found status in the umbrella organization would mean that Israel is no longer our overwhelmingly most important regional ally.  It would give local nations a tribunal for consultation when the inevitable border disputes, etc., spring up.  And it would create a sounding place for us to bring our concerns about regional terrorism.

I think--so long as it is implemented in a way that achieves it's promise--that it's absolutely brilliant.  The kind of imaginative melding of diplomacy, military power, and American influence that can actually make things better in the world, as opposed to just stumbling along and trying to handle crises as they pop up, which is our normal MO.

by Trickster 2008-04-21 07:57PM | 0 recs
That's an interesting take.

I have a couple of problems with the proposal, chiefly that I don't think Iran merits USSR-style containment, and that the U.S. national interest isn't impacted enough in the region to give unilateral guarantees without some kind of multilateral reciprocity, but a collective security arrangement has worked well elsewhere, no question.

by MBNYC 2008-04-21 08:13PM | 0 recs
Re: That's an interesting take.

Even though I think your point about Iran is well-taken, I just see it as a entry-way to all the other political advantages we could reap from a multilateral regional arrangement that we were a part of.  It's by far the most troubling of the world hot-spots, with the export of terrorism and the constant threat of suspension of the oil supply.  I think purposeful, high-minded (but also tough-minded) diplomatic engagement is really the way to go.

I'm not saying this is the only way to go, but I am saying that nothing better occurs to me.  It seems like a really clever and constructive way to get our foot in the door.

And if you'll remember from her brief description in the debate the other night, although the organization would begin as a shield against Iran--and as an invitation to Iran to think twice about what they're up to, as well as an invitation to other regional states to discourage Iran from its current path--Iran would be welcome to join if it gives up its pursuit of nuclear weaponry.

by Trickster 2008-04-21 08:19PM | 0 recs
Well, here's the thing.

We tried something like this back in the 1950s with the Baghdad Pact, though that's an imperfect analogy. The Baghdad Pact ultimately failed, arguably, because its political and strategic superstructure was not supported by the member states' populations.

One problem I have with this proposal is that it cuts counter to the grain of U.S. practice, which is to reserve these closely linked alliances to states that share our democratic institutions; NATO and ANZUS come to mind. The likely components of an Iranian containment group all are undemocratic, which leads me to doubt whether such an alliance would be stable even over the medium term.

On the other hand, I can see that an American presence enhanced by treaty ties would be of value to the GCC and to stability, which is our main goal in the region. Might be worth thinking about, certainly.

by MBNYC 2008-04-21 08:59PM | 0 recs
Look at the question

If Iran attacks Israel with nuclear weapons, what would you do?

The title of this diary is a bit on the yellow-journalism side.

by Trickster 2008-04-21 07:10PM | 0 recs
If Iran attacks Israel

with nuclear weapons, which it does not presently have, there won't be anything left of Iran for the United States to do anything about. The Israelis will see to that.

Does that answer your question?

by MBNYC 2008-04-21 08:21PM | 0 recs
Re:

hmmm it is a pretty aggressive and hawkish stance.

I know she is trying to appear tough, on foreign policy, but maybe a tad much.

it goes to that saying about her, she thinks the way to beat the republicans, is to look like republicans.  

by TruthMatters 2008-04-21 05:40PM | 0 recs
Re:

I guess this is her "FU" to moveon.org

by Veteran75 2008-04-21 05:42PM | 0 recs
attack Iran

I wonder what her Generals think about her new Neo-Con posturing. It will be SAD if she pushes Wesley Clark to endorse this idea.

by Veteran75 2008-04-21 05:40PM | 0 recs
Re: attack Iran

No one pushes Wes Clark to do anything. He's told the neo-cons to fuck off, and he even gave Bill Clinton a little lesson. Wes Clark should be President right now. He should be all three candidates top pick for VP, and if he thought he could do right by the men and women in uniform he just might consider running with NcCain if either Democrat is too foolish not to pick him for VP.

by Jeter 2008-04-21 09:55PM | 0 recs
This isn't snark...

I am sad.

by Student Guy 2008-04-21 05:42PM | 0 recs
Oh I see
it took me all the way to the last sentence to finally get to the artificial point- sorry, should have seen it coming. This is to counter Obama's stupid slip in saying that McCain in better than Bush while the DNC has been spending the last two months trying to make Bush and McCain two pigs in a blanket. Got it.
by linc 2008-04-21 05:43PM | 0 recs
Not at all.

I'm just aware that this is a web site mainly given over to electoral politics, which is why I added political considerations.

Or do you have any substantive critique other than that?

by MBNYC 2008-04-21 05:50PM | 0 recs
OK
For one, Clinton is explicitly demonstrating realist principles and idealogy, if thats what you are going for. It assumes the worst intentions from all parties and is oftentimes meant as deterrence.

As your diary clearly points out, the Iranian gov't is no good and clearly has it own interests in mind.

Second, this is exactly what any United States President interested in actual, meaningful negotiations should be saying at this point. It is a signal of strength through force AND will. It says that we draw the baseline, we make the terms.

If Obama were to have it his way, we would just sit down with Ahmadinejad- which would be on his terms because Obama says he doesn't need any.

There are a couple points, there are a thousand more.
by linc 2008-04-21 06:01PM | 0 recs
Not really.

Clinton's guarantee is redundant, as noted, so I'd hesitate to describe it as realist. The realist apprach would be to deploy the full spectrum of tools available to the United States to disincent Iran from going nuclear in the first place; her promise to nuke them, however, gives them an incentive to go nuclear.

by MBNYC 2008-04-21 06:06PM | 0 recs
Re: Not really.

Nobody doubt the will of the US to go to war.  Jesus - we're in two of them right now - one which we started with no rationale that anyone's been able to detect.

This is precisely the sort of posturing that has third-world countries clamouring to get their own nuclear weapon because they can't guarantee that the US won't go apeshit and invade them for no reason.

That's the lesson of the Iraq War, and I doubt it's lost on the Iranian heads-of-state.  Nor is the fact that Hillary Clinton was an early supporter of that war.

by Mostly 2008-04-21 10:22PM | 0 recs
Re: "If I'm the

Really so are you saying if Iran attacked Israel with nuclear weapons you want us to do NOTHING. So are you with the states that want to destroy Israel?????  Are you nuts.  If the only jewish county on earth is attacked and destroyed by a nuclear attack you think we should be nice to them.  Start a dialog.

If BO and his supporters are not will to protect Israel than BO should quit now.

david

by giusd 2008-04-21 05:43PM | 0 recs
Re-read the part

where I write about Israel's homegrown nuclear deterrent. They don't need our guarantee, which is kind of my point.

by MBNYC 2008-04-21 05:47PM | 0 recs
Re: Re-read the part

Israel's nuclear deterrent is relatively small and mostly land-based.  Iran may just think it could nuke Israel and get away with it.  And the very fact that Iran might think that increases the possibility that it will happen.

The U.S. nuclear deterrent is huge and largely sea-based.  The explicit threat of a massive U.S. response thus drastically reduces the possibility that anybody in Iran thinks they could get away with launching a nuclear war without being totally obliterated.  And that thus sharply reduces the chances of nuclear war.  It's called deterrence, and it's pretty much the only way to stop nuclear war other than by pre-emption (which I imagine you don't support either).

by markjay 2008-04-21 07:30PM | 0 recs
Re: Re-read the part

You do realize that Israel has nuclear subs?

by nklein 2008-04-21 10:30PM | 0 recs
Re: "If I'm the

wow protect israel, exactly which treaty is that?

I think it would be up to NATO, to decide on a course of action, and if they said nuke, then yes!

but the U.S to unilaterally nuke no.

by TruthMatters 2008-04-21 05:48PM | 0 recs
Re: "If I'm the

Let's be 'truthful' -- she never said she'd retaliate with nuclear weapons.

by VAAlex 2008-04-21 05:52PM | 0 recs
What other interpretation

of "totally obliterate" would you offer, then?

by MBNYC 2008-04-21 06:07PM | 0 recs
Re: "If I'm the

She just said on Keith Olbermann that she would retaliate with nuclear weapons....

by JenKinFLA 2008-04-21 06:34PM | 0 recs
Re: "If I'm the

And by the way, it's been standard U.S. foreign policy to consider Israel a close ally and basically a protectorate for a while.

by VAAlex 2008-04-21 05:52PM | 0 recs
It's a little more complex

than that. Israel has a security relationship with the United States that both counties find it advantageous to be ambiguous. The question of nukes has never been publicly discussed, because Israel won't confirm or deny it has any, but it's believed to be their position that they need an independent, self-controlled deterrent. Hence, the U.S. implied guarantee has never been fleshed out, because it wasn't necessary.

by MBNYC 2008-04-21 05:53PM | 0 recs
Re: "If I'm the

I am sorry it is the treaty of what is right and just.  We protect are friends who have always been there for us.

NATO.  Forget NATO.

America will always stand with Israel and not to do so would undermind the very foundation of what this country is about and stands for.  It kills me to hear anyone say otherwise.

david

by giusd 2008-04-21 05:54PM | 0 recs
Re: "If I'm the

How will not standing with Israel undermine what this country stands for?

by JenKinFLA 2008-04-21 06:35PM | 0 recs
Re: "If I'm the

I am sorry.  It is called Democracy. It is called protecting countries that give freedom and rights to their people revolving around a government chosen by the people.  You know like that little Democracy that is encircled by dictatorships in the Middle East.

Either the US stands for and protects counties that practice Democracy or we don't????

I guess in you mind America doesn't do this.  We let our friend and allies get nuked and we stand by or have a chat with them.  I guess we will just have to disagree.  

david

by giusd 2008-04-21 06:43PM | 0 recs
Re: "If I'm the

There a quite a few countries that practice democracy that we do not defend... and others that don't that we do....

It is not a requirement for our involvement.

In both my mind and in reality, America does this.

by JenKinFLA 2008-04-21 06:47PM | 0 recs
Re: "If I'm the

Israel is practicin apartheid. That is not democratic.

by venician 2008-04-21 07:18PM | 0 recs
Re: "If I'm the

Not true.  There security barriers may be cumbersome, but it does not qualify as apartheid (no matter what Jimmy Carter says).

by nklein 2008-04-21 10:38PM | 0 recs
Re: "If I'm the

So if someone attacks South Africa, we have to respond with a nuclear retaliation?  Zimbabwe better watch out.  That is a stupid standard.

Israel is extremely important to our nation and me (I got family there), but you do not dramatically change our foreign policy on a whim.

by nklein 2008-04-21 10:35PM | 0 recs
Re: "If I'm the

wow, are we really going to take this this far?  Realyy?  Does Iran have nulear weeapons?  Are we hysterical here at mydd all a the sudden?

Maybe my mom is right.

by Chelseain32 2008-04-21 09:29PM | 0 recs
SERIOUSLY? What else would ANY president do?

Clinton further displayed tough talk in an interview airing on Good Morning America Tuesday, ABC News' Chris Cuomo asked Clinton what she would do if Iran attacked Israel with nuclear weapons.

Are you kidding me? Replace Israel with any of our other allies if you want. Please tell me all of you lambasting her are not naive enough to believe your arguments. If Iran attacks WITH A NUCLEAR WEAPON it would be irresponsible not to respond. I'm so glad you bring this up, because this is a great point. Ask Obama the same question, and see what he answers.

This isn't idiocy -- this is what any president would do after a NUCLEAR ATTACK on our allies.

by VAAlex 2008-04-21 05:44PM | 0 recs
Re: SERIOUSLY? What else would ANY president do?

Personally, I would have liked the question without benefit of the words "nuclear attack" in it...

Given some of her stances, I have a gut feeling she is far more hawkish than she is saying on the trail...

by JenKinFLA 2008-04-21 05:46PM | 0 recs
It's really painful

to try to have foreign policy discussions in a primary. That said, re-read the part about why and how Israel's interests are already protected by their own deterrent, and how normal relations with a non-nuclear Iran are in Israel's interest.

It's not a question of deterrence. The challenge is to keep Iran nuke-free.

by MBNYC 2008-04-21 05:55PM | 0 recs
Re: It's really painful

But you're confusing the issue. You created a diary attacking Senator Clinton for what any president would do -- retaliate against A NUCLEAR ATTACK BY IRAN on one of our allies. There's nothing to do with deterrence here.

And again, I ask, what would Senator Obama's response be? I implore you to get him to answer this as soon as possible.

If you wanted to write a diary about nuclear deterrence, you could have done so without insulting Senator Clinton. You complain that it's painful to have a foreign policy discussion during a primary yet you preemptively launched an attack on Sen. Clinton for what any president would do.

by VAAlex 2008-04-21 05:59PM | 0 recs
Again, chill.

I'll write whatever I damn well please, thank you very much.

So, now that we've moved on from that, please explain to me why retaliation for an attack on Israel is better than making sure Iran, having been disincented from developing nukes, doesn't have that capability in the first place. Those are the options available, and what I'm describing is basic Democratic policy.

So kindly don't lecture me. You're really not in a position to do so.

by MBNYC 2008-04-21 06:11PM | 0 recs
Re: It's really painful

and how normal relations with a non-nuclear Iran are in Israel's interest.

Now you are completely going off the deep end. Ever since the Iranian revolution, Iran has never indicated the slightest willingness to normalize relations with Israel.  After Sadat normalized relations with Israel, Iran named a street in its capital after the murderer of Sadat. Iran villifies any Middle Eastern country that even hints at normalizing relations with Israel.

by markjay 2008-04-21 07:35PM | 0 recs
Re: It's really painful

In that time, has Iran had nuclear weapons.  Are we all nuts here?

by Chelseain32 2008-04-21 09:31PM | 0 recs
Re: "If I'm the president

How can she think this is going to help her? That's what puzzles me. At this point in time she has to be doing everything for the purpose of winning PA tomorrow. I can't wrap my head around how she thinks this helps her. Maybe she heard some PA voters are concerned she isn't tough enough? Is she crazy like a fox??? I don't get it.

by Becky G 2008-04-21 05:46PM | 0 recs
Re: "If I'm the president

I'm really bewildered that so many people don't understand this basic point of U.S. foreign policy.

It's really pretty simple folks:

1) Iran attacks U.S. ally WITH A NUCLEAR WEAPON.
2) U.S. retaliates and assists ally.

This is foreign defense 101, people. I implore all of you attacking Sen. Clinton for this to ask the same question of Senator Obama. I really hope he gets asked this, and that will be a great test to see how he really views the foreign policy scene.

by VAAlex 2008-04-21 05:50PM | 0 recs
Re: "If I'm the president

It's a horseshit hypothetical that demands a hawkish answer.  That's the problem with it.

by bjones 2008-04-21 05:57PM | 0 recs
Re: "If I'm the president

But that's just it! This isn't a 'hawkish' answer. What other answer would be acceptable to you? We'd talk to Iran and ask them not to do it again?

by VAAlex 2008-04-21 06:00PM | 0 recs
Re: "If I'm the president

The question shouldn't have been answered. This is a time when political doublespeak isn't evil, it's necessary.

Iran will change on its own, without our help, and it's Clinton and McCain style mindless saber-rattling that delays that process.

by amiches 2008-04-21 06:08PM | 0 recs
Re: "If I'm the president

The question was a hypothetical. This isn't saber-rattling but a realistic response in the face of a NUCLEAR ATTACK.

by VAAlex 2008-04-21 06:41PM | 0 recs
Re: "If I'm the president

What aren't you getting about this???

Iran doesn't possess nuclear weapons.

This is why it's pure-d, Bushist, uber-alles horseshit!

by bjones 2008-04-21 06:08PM | 0 recs
Re: "If I'm the president

"IF"

This is a HYPOTHETICAL. She is answering a HYPOTHETICAL.

Does Iran possess nuclear weapons? No. HYPOTHETICALLY, could they? Yes. She was answering a HYPOTHETICAL.

by VAAlex 2008-04-21 06:40PM | 0 recs
Re: "If I'm the president

But they might.  You never know.  Okay, so we were wrong about Iraq, but are you willing to roll the dice again?  This time I'm almost positive that the bad guys have these weapons.

I'd say that this is a pretty big non-issue.  especially because Obama probably would have responded the same way, unfortunately.

Regardless of whether Obama would have said it or not, though, the response isn't bad because we shouldn't respond if Israel is nuked.  Clearly, if any country nuked any other country, we, and most of the rest of the world, would do some serious damage to the offending nation state.

No, the problem with this response is that there is no need to state it.  All it does is make the US (rather than just Bush and some extreme right wingers that still support him) seem as blood thirsty as we've been for the last six years.  We really need to take advantage of this election to make a fresh start of sorts with the international community.  Throwing this rhetoric around (even if it is true) hurts us a lot more than helps us.

by minnesotaryan 2008-04-21 06:47PM | 0 recs
Re: "If I'm the president

You know, I wonder if some of these folks realize that by being the ONLY nation on Earth to have actually used atomic weapons in war, we have a solemn duty to the future of humankind NOT to engage in dialogue that threatens further nuclear aggression, especially in unrealistic hypotheticals that practically demand we reinforce negative stereotypes about hyperaggression.

by bjones 2008-04-21 07:05PM | 0 recs
Re: "If I'm the president

Some poeple are doves and others are hawks, ya know.

by Actright 2008-04-21 05:51PM | 0 recs
Re:

I thought we learned with Iraq we don't just unilaterally do things.

we do it as a joint venture of nations, like Afghanistan, they attacked us, and NATO together went in and took care of it.

Iraq we do it alone, and look how well that is going.

by TruthMatters 2008-04-21 05:51PM | 0 recs
Wow

That is crazy

by CardBoard 2008-04-21 05:53PM | 0 recs
aah
the question was what would you do if Iran attacked Israel with a nuclear weapon, I guess the answer the Obamaniacs would love to hear is
  1. "I will sit back and twiddle my thumbs"
  2. "call Ahmedinajad and offer him talks"
  3. "ask the UN to intervene like they did in Rwanda and Kosovo".
  4. all of the above
by tarheel74 2008-04-21 05:53PM | 0 recs
Re: aah

The proper answer to that question, from a broader prospective, is to demur. No possible answer to such a question is at all constructive.

by amiches 2008-04-21 06:05PM | 0 recs
The better question is

"What will you do to ensure that Iran doesn't go nuclear?"

It's kinda late to act after Israel has been nuked, don't you think?

by MBNYC 2008-04-21 06:14PM | 0 recs
Re: The better question is

yeah well what is your idea of deterrence then? cut and run? John Kennedy, the president Obama tries so hard to immitate (and fails), nearly went to WWIII on far lesser threat. We hard armed every nation in the NATO alliance with nuclear weapons to deter the USSR. The concept of nuclear deterrence is obviously not known to you.

by tarheel74 2008-04-21 08:31PM | 0 recs
Re: The better question is

Someone who does not know that NATO has over 15 members and there are only 7 countries with nuclear weapons should not talk about what someone else knows and doesn't know.

by nklein 2008-04-21 10:50PM | 0 recs
Re: The better question is

well einstein the US had nuclear tipped weapons in every NATO country where they had a base. That is called arming. That is called providing an umbrella.

by tarheel74 2008-04-22 05:18AM | 0 recs
Re: The better question is

No, it's not.  Moreover, Every country we have a base is still not every NATO country (need I remind you that you said "We hard armed every nation in the NATO alliance with nuclear weapons to deter the USSR.").  

by nklein 2008-04-22 08:10PM | 0 recs
Oh, CUT AND RUN??

Okay, see, this is why so many people ask if Hillary is even a Democrat anymore.  Now you are aping one of the most vile Republican memes of the Bush years when you use "cut and run" against Democrats.  

Don't do that.  That's vile enough when it comes from the bad guys.

by Dumbo 2008-04-22 12:17AM | 0 recs
Re: "If I'm the president

The mullahs are Iran's past, not its future; it is not in our interest to engage in acts that help to reverse that sequence.

-Zbignew Brzezinski

Couldn't agree more.  Iranians are by and large a young, forward thinking people who are the heirs of an ancient and proud culture. They have the potential to be one of our greatest MidEast allies some day, if we just give them the chance.

by bjones 2008-04-21 05:55PM | 0 recs
Zbigniew B. was the architect of Afghan

mujahedeens. His vision led to defeat of Soviet Union but destabilized Afghanistan for good with the mujahedeens morphing into the Al Qaida hydra. I'm not sure why he is an advisor to Senator Obama.

http://www.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/coldwar/int erviews/episode-17/brzezinski1.html


INT: Moving on to Poland, what support you could give to Solidarity from 1980 onwards?

ZB: We gave them a great deal of political support. We encouraged Solidarity as much as we could. We made it very clear as to where our sympathies are. We of course had certain instruments for reaching Poland, such as Radio Free Europe; we had a very comprehensive publication program; we had other means also of encouraging and supporting dissent. And when the critical moment came in December of 1980, when the Soviets were poised to intervene in Poland, we did everything we could to mobilize international opinion, to galvanize maximum international pressure on the Soviets, to convince the Soviets that we will not be passive. And by then we had some credibility, because the Soviets knew that already for a year we were doing something that we had never before been done in the entire history of the Cold War: we were actively and directly supporting the resistance movement in Afghanistan, the purpose of which was to fight the Soviet army. So the notion that we wouldn't be passive, I think had some credibility by then.

by louisprandtl 2008-04-21 07:03PM | 0 recs
I suggest reading the full interview...

Here's the second part of the interview which deals more in details with Afghanistan.

INT: How did you interpret Soviet behavior in Afghanistan, such as the April revolution, the rise of... I mean, what did you think their long-term plans were, and what did you think should be done about it?

ZB: I told the President, about six months before the Soviets entered Afghanistan, that in my judgment I thought they would be going into Afghanistan. And I decided then, and I recommended to the President, that we shouldn't be passive.

INT: What happened?

ZB: We weren't passive.

INT: But at the time...

(Interruption)

INT: Right, describe your reaction when you heard that your suspicions had been fully justified: an invasion had happened.

ZB: We immediately launched a twofold process when we heard that the Soviets had entered Afghanistan. The first involved direct reactions and sanctions focused on the Soviet Union, and both the State Department and the National Security Council prepared long lists of sanctions to be adopted, of steps to be taken to increase the international costs to the Soviet Union of their actions. And the second course of action led to my going to Pakistan a month or so after the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, for the purpose of coordinating with the Pakistanis a joint response, the purpose of which would be to make the Soviets bleed for as much and as long as is possible; and we engaged in that effort in a collaborative sense with the Saudis, the Egyptians, the British, the Chinese, and we started providing weapons to the Mujaheddin, from various sources again - for example, some Soviet arms from the Egyptians and the Chinese. We even got Soviet arms from the Czechoslovak communist government, since it was obviously susceptible to material incentives; and at some point we started buying arms for the Mujaheddin from the Soviet army in Afghanistan, because that army was increasingly corrupt.

INT: How united or divergent were the views in the Carter Administration, responding to the invasion of Afghanistan?

ZB: They were surprisingly uniform. That is to say, I remember that the State Department, which earlier had opposed taking a very tough stand on Afghanistan, and certainly didn't want us to be issuing any public warnings directed to the Soviet Union, came in with a long list of something like 26 or 28 proposed sanctions against Soviet Union, including the most severe ones that subsequently were adopted by the United States. So once the Soviets had acted, some of the hesitations and reticence regarding how we should respond to the Soviet challenge, dissipated almost instantly.

INT: But you managed to increase the powers of the National Security Council?

ZB: Well, I didn't increase the powers of the National Security Council, but obviously what the Soviets did confirmed what we were arguing for some time: namely, that if we don't draw the line clearly enough, we're going to get an escalation in Soviet misconduct, that simply acquiescence was not good enough. And in that sense, yes, I suppose one could say the political scales within the US Government were somewhat tipped in the favor of the NSC.

(B/g talk)

INT: How tough was President Carter's approach to the Cold War?

ZB: I think, on balance, it was much tougher than most people realize. Not only did he take some historic decisions which no other president had before - such as the decision to aid directly the Mujaheddin against the Soviet army - but he took a very tough position in December 1980, when the Soviet Union was poised to invade Poland. He took that decision, and it was a very tough decision, and we did all sorts of things to convince the Soviets that we wouldn't be passive. In addition to it, he took the decision to engage in a strategic relationship with the Chinese, and it was again directed at Soviet expansionism. But what is even less known is that even in the early years, when he was generally perceived as being soft and overly accommodationist, he took some very tough-minded decisions which were simply not known publicly. Robert Gates, the subsequently director of the CIA, and at that time a member of my staff, reveals in his book that as early as 1978, President Carter approved proposals prepared by my staff to undertake, for example, a comprehensive, covert action program designed to help the non-Russian nations in the Soviet Union pursue more actively their desire for independence - a program in effect to destabilize the Soviet Union. We called it, more delicately, a program for the "delegitimization of the Soviet Union". But that was a rather unusual decision. He took some others along these lines, too. So his public image to some extent was the product of his great emphasis on arms reductions and a desire to reach an agreement on that score with the Russians. But it didn't quite correspond to the reality, and it certainly didn't correspond even to the public reality in the second half of the Carter Administration.

INT: Could you summarize the reasons for the shift that seems apparent from the 1977 détente and co-operation, inordinate fear of communism, through to the Carter doctrine in 1980?

ZB: Well, that question was prepared before my answer to the previous question. (Laughs)

INT: Can you give me a summary?

IN BACKGROUND

The reasons for it.

ZB: I don't think there was a shift. As I said, I think even prior to the public realization that he was much tougher than most people had assumed, he was taking some decisions privately in the first two years of his presidency which were quite tough-minded. The reason he was perceived by a lot of people as not being tough enough, was rooted largely in his passion for arms control, for arms reductions, and that I think created an image that was somewhat one-dimensional and not entirely accurate.

INT: Well, following on that, how successful was Carter at laying the foundations for increased defense and security which the next administration inherited?

ZB: Any answer by me in that respect is inevitably self-serving. But I think you would find a good answer tothat question in the book written by the Republican head of the CIA, Robert Gates, who says that Carter deserves enormous credit in responding assertively, energetically and in an historically significant fashion, to the kind ochallenge that the Soviets -erroneously - thought they were ready to pose before us, when they assumed in the mid-Seventies that the scales of history were really tipping in their favor and they could now act assertively in keeping with that shift. It was our response in those years which provided the basis for what subsequently was done by Reagan, and this is what is being said by Robert Gates and not by me.

INT: But in your own book, you do stress that Carter laid good foundations for strengthening ...

ZB: Well, as I think is evident from my answer, I don't disagree with Robert Gates, but I think...

INT: Tell me (Overlap) from your own point of view...

ZB: ... but I think Robert Gates may be a better judge and more dispassionate judge of that than I, because obviously I would be accused of engaging in a self-serving diagnosis.

INT: OK.

(Request in b/g re: next question)

INT: Why was the Horn of Africa so important to America?

ZB: The Horn of Africa was not important to America as of itself, but it was important as a measure and a test of how the Soviets were interpreting détente; and it seemed to us, given the strategic location of the Horn of Africa, that the Soviets were engaged in activities which they should know would be a sensitive concern to us. And if they were, notwithstanding that, doing precisely that, then obviously they were exploiting détente to try to attain some significant geopolitical gains, and that we simply could not tolerate.

INT: Did America underreact to start with to the activities of the Soviets in Africa?

ZB: Absolutely, I think we underreacted, and that's why they gradually escalated, and eventually, as I have said earlier, SALT was buried in the sands of Ogaden, the sands that divide Somalia from Ethiopia, and eventually led to the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, which then precipitated a very strong, overtly so, American response. I would have preferred us to draw the line sooner, and perhaps some of the things that subsequently happened wouldn't have happened.

INT: Just to follow on to that, is how events in Afghanistan affected the US relationship with Pakistan.

ZB: There was a certain coolness and distance in the American-Pakistan relationship prior to the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. After that invasion, we collaborated very closely. And I have to pay tribute to the guts of the Pakistanis: they acted with remarkable courage, and they just weren't intimidated and they did things which one would have thought a vulnerable country might not have the courage to undertake. We, I am pleased to say, supported them very actively and they had our backing, but they were there, they were the ones who were endangered, not we.

INT: Reflecting on that whole situation in Afghanistan, do you think it was worth all the suffering that was involved?

ZB: I think the Soviets made a tragic mistake, and therefore it wasn't worth their while to go in. I think it would have been a tragedy if we had allowed them to overrun the Afghans.

INT: Well, I would like to ask about détente. ... By 1980, the principle of détente was dead. Can you explain why détente died, how it died, and for what reasons?

ZB: Détente of the kind that existed in the mid-Seventies was really undermined by the Soviets, who thought that they could have détente and a fundamental shift in the balance of power at the same time. Instead of accepting détente as a relationship designed to stabilize the relationship between the two major countries, they viewed détente essentially as an umbrella under which a fundamental shift in the correlationship of power could be effected, and they thought they could do so both on the strategic level and on the geopolitical level, via their activities in the Third World. This is what contributed to the collapse of détente. I fail to see how anyone can argue that it was up to us to maintain détente at a time when the Soviets were very reluctant to accept any reductions in strategic arms, and felt themselves free to engage in military activities in the Third World, ranging from Africa through to Central America, and eventually culminating in Afghanistan. That is not the definition of détente in my book.

INT: The Vance mission in March 1977 - was that a turning point in any way on that route that you've just been describing?

ZB: The Vance mission in 1977, the March mission to the Soviet Union in order to conclude an arms control agreement, was a big disappointment to us, and it's not well understood, because most people assume that Vance went to Moscow all of a sudden confronting the Russians with a proposal for deep cuts in the strategic arms relationship, and that the Russians, annoyed by this sudden development, turned him down. The fact of the matter is, he went there with that proposal, but also with another one: namely, "If you're not prepared to have deep cuts, then let's have essentially the kind of deeps cuts - but less deep, much less deep - that were agreed to in Vladivostok," with two issues yet to be resolved, which in our view had not been resolved: the question of the cruise missiles and of the long-range new Soviet bomber called the Backfire, and these two issues we had to resolve. And the Russians took the position: "We don't accept deep cuts, but we also don't accept your fall-back position, unless you accept our definition of what the agreement ought to be regarding the cruise missiles and the Backfire." And of course, we couldn't do that, because that would have placed in jeopardy our own strategic position, and I doubt very much that Congress would have approved any such agreement. So the Russians adopted a very intransigent attitude, and that was a disappointment to those who thought that perhaps we could start a new administration, the Carter Administration, with some wide-ranging agreement with the Russians. It became clear that this would be much more difficult, and that in fact perhaps the Russians have a very one-sided, distorted, self-serving definition of what détente really ought to be.

INT: One side only.

(A bit of discussion)

INT: Why did President Carter take up the issue of human rights, especially on the Soviet Union, and what effect did this have on Soviet-American relations?

ZB: The President should really speak for himself on that, but President Carter, in my view, was deeply committed to human rights as a matter of principle, as a matter of moral conviction, and he was committed to human rights across the board. I mean, he felt very strongly about human rights in Argentina, as well as in the Soviet Union. I was deeply committed to human rights; I felt this was important, but I will not hide the fact that I also thought that there was some instrumental utility in our pursuit of human rights vis-à-vis the Soviet Union, because at the time the Soviet Union was putting us ideologically on the defensive. They saw themselves as representing the progressive forces of mankind, marching toward some ideologically defined future; and raising the issue of human rights pointed to one of the fundamental weaknesses of the Soviet system: namely, that it was a system based on oppression, on mass terror, on extraordinary killings of one's own people. Focusing on human rights was in a way focusing on a major Soviet vulnerability. So, while I was committed to human rights - and I am committed to human rights - I do not deny that in pushing it vis-à-vis the Soviets, I saw in this also an opportunity to put them ideologically on the defensive at a time when they saw themselves rightfully on the offensive.

INT: Thank you very much.

(End)


by louisprandtl 2008-04-21 07:27PM | 0 recs
Is there someone here who actually believes...

that if Iran attacks Israel that we should not then attack Iran?  Is that really what the progressive left believes?

by DaveOinSF 2008-04-21 05:56PM | 0 recs
Re: Is there someone here who actually believes...

That's not the point. The point is, I don't want a President in office with a record of needless saber-rattling against Iran. Demographics are going to result in change in that country if we let them be - shit like this only serves to raise fervor and entrench the ayatollahs more.

by amiches 2008-04-21 06:04PM | 0 recs
What?

"Hi Mrs. Clinton. What should we do if Iran nukes Israel?"

What's the right answer to that?

by DaveOinSF 2008-04-21 06:05PM | 0 recs
Re: What?

In my best Clinton impression, and assuming this is Meet the Press:

"Well Tim, one thing I've learned in my years of experience is that hypotheticals are just that, hypothetical. But to address your broader point about nuclear proliferation in rogue states, I think it's important that the United States work with other nations around the world to ensure that nuclear material doesn't end up in the hands of those who would use it for nefarious purposes. And we would certainly rely and expand our intelligence services so we could accurately pinpoint and identify weapons-making in progress, and work on a variety of levels to stop it."

It's a non-answer. Diplomacy is where non-answers are sometimes required. This is a subtlety that Bush never understood, and Hillary ignores for political purposes.

by amiches 2008-04-21 06:15PM | 0 recs
Re: What?

Even leaving nukes out of it, I think it would behoove the President of the United States to make clear that Israel is our ally and we will respond militarily were it attacked.

by DaveOinSF 2008-04-21 06:19PM | 0 recs
Re: What?

I'm not sure why, given that it's ultimately counterproductive, but that's your right. Just don't be surprised when a lot of liberals, progressives, and anti-war folks don't see it your way.

by amiches 2008-04-21 06:22PM | 0 recs
"Hi Mrs Clinton..."

"... do you prefer keeping Iran free of nukes, or will you wait until it's too late, Israel is destroyed, and nuke them after?"

by MBNYC 2008-04-21 06:15PM | 0 recs
Re: "Hi Mrs Clinton..."

I think you mean nuke the sheet of glass that Israel would turn Iran into if Iran nuked Israel.

We've got to send a message to those smouldering sheets of glass that we're serious.

by Mostly 2008-04-21 10:54PM | 0 recs
Re: Context Is Everything -

"IF THEY ATTACK ISRAEL"

Now, of course, we all know that Hillary is saying this as a blatant pander ploy for Jewish votes. The question for both candidates?  How low will they go?

(PS - To all you Obama folks - Donnie McClurkin was pretty low, too.)

by johnnygunn 2008-04-21 05:59PM | 0 recs
Re: Context Is Everything -

No, it really doesn't matter. Replace Israel with any U.S. ally. The answer should not change.

by VAAlex 2008-04-21 06:01PM | 0 recs
Re: Context Is Everything -

But VA -

I don't expect Iran to attack Mexico or Malaysia.
Do you?

by johnnygunn 2008-04-21 06:10PM | 0 recs
Re: Context Is Everything -

Probably not. But if it does, should the answer be any different?

by VAAlex 2008-04-21 06:20PM | 0 recs
Re: Context Is Everything -

Moot point, but no.

by johnnygunn 2008-04-21 06:42PM | 0 recs
Re: "If I'm the president we will

The correct answer is not to focus on hypotheticals and to insist that proper action would be taken with  the Iranian government before any nuclear strike, up to and including preemptive military action.

I just don't understand why she insists on saber rattling at this point. It doesn't impress Democratic voters, it makes her look insensitive to working-class and military families (essentially, we'll send your kid to die to protect another country) and, quite frankly, it's unnecessary from a deterrence standpoint, as Israel has more than enough warheads to deter any nuclear power in the region for at least a generation, probably more.

by amiches 2008-04-21 06:01PM | 0 recs
Re:

what is everyone debating, we all agree it is a hawkish statment,

HRC supporters don't have a problem with this,
BO supporters do, its just a difference of opinion then. for me its a bit more hawkish then I want from a president. plain and simple.

by TruthMatters 2008-04-21 06:02PM | 0 recs
I suggest we find out what Obama would do

You're a supporter....try finding out!

If Iran attacked Israel with nukes, would Obama attack Iran with nukes?

Or would he call them up and ask them nicely never to do it again?

Please find out, for all our sakes!

by SluggoJD 2008-04-21 06:19PM | 0 recs
Re: I suggest we find out what Obama would do

Don't even bring retaliating with nukes, because that's not what Clinton said she would do. She said she would retaliate period.

But I wholeheartedly support your endeavor of attempting to find out what Obama would do about this.

by VAAlex 2008-04-21 06:21PM | 0 recs
Re: I suggest we find out what Obama would do

The word "obliterate" is pretty non-ambiguous. I'm sorry she wasn't literal enough for you.

By the way, why are you guys trying to change the subject? It's Hillary's idiotic statement, not Obama's.

by amiches 2008-04-21 06:24PM | 0 recs
Re: I suggest we find out what Obama would do

This isn't an idiotic statement. Wait, let me rephrase that.

Anyone who is realistic about foreign policy realizes this is a perfectly sane, normal response and would not raise anyone's eyebrows over in the military. I take solace in the fact that Obama's supporters, the ones who find this 'idiotic' are a tiny minority who are not responsible for setting foreign policy.

by VAAlex 2008-04-21 06:38PM | 0 recs
Re: I suggest we find out what Obama would do

Several rational, sane alternative responses to the question have been offered here that include none of the needless saber-rattling exhibited by Hillary in her reply. Looking forward to your objections to those.

by amiches 2008-04-21 06:42PM | 0 recs
Re: I suggest we find out what Obama would do

Ok, fine. Again, I'm glad the vast minority of people here don't set foreign policy. It's so simple it's almost stupid.

1) Iran attacks Israel with a nuclear weapon.
2) The U.S. retaliates.

This isn't saber-rattling, but a guaranteed response by the United States.

by VAAlex 2008-04-21 06:44PM | 0 recs
Re: I suggest we find out what Obama would do

The point isn't whether this is true - no one's arguing about that! The point is that it's stupid to go on the news and say so without a damn good reason. Again, needless saber-rattling derails and delays the slow but inevitable demographic reform in Iran, which is the real solution to the region's problems.

She shouldn't have answered the question, and the fact that she did makes me question her judgment.

by amiches 2008-04-21 06:48PM | 0 recs
Re: I suggest we find out what Obama would do

Then that's the rub -- Clinton supporters will see this as a rational response to a hypothetical question, while Obama supporters will attack her and 'question her judgment' for having the gall to answer a question -- a perfectly legitimate foreign policy question. Just because you don't want to explore an option doesn't mean it should be ignored.

by VAAlex 2008-04-21 06:54PM | 0 recs
I suggest we find out what Obama would do

"Clinton supporters will see this as a rational response to a hypothetical question, while Obama supporters will attack her and 'question her judgment' for having the gall to answer a question"

Oh please...using the word "obliterate" was just plain stupid, there will be major fallout from it, and it won't be any body's fault but her own.

Dumb, dumb thing to say.

by edmandspath 2008-04-21 07:18PM | 0 recs
HRC actually said that she'll nuke Iran in case

Iran launched a nuclear attack on Israel. Now the DailyKos unfortunately selectively missed that part for some "unknown reason". Even Keith Olbermann got it right when he questioned HRC on this.

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/24246275/

For full transcript:
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/24247198/

OLBERMANN: You mentioned the oil suppliers and obviously leads us into something else that really flew by during the debate that seemed awfully important. In that debate you were asked about a hypothetical Iranian attack on Israel and your hypothetical response as commander in chief and you said, let me read the quote exactly, "I think that we should be looking to create an umbrella of deterrence that goes much further than Israel. Of course I would make it clear to the Iranians that an attack on Israel would include massive retaliation from the United States but I would do the same with other countries in the region."

Can you clarify since there was no follow-up to that which hypothetical Middle East conflicts would incur massive retaliation by this country and what constitutes massive retaliation?

CLINTON: Well, what we were talking about was the potential for a nuclear attack by Iran. If Iran does achieve what appears to be its continuing goal of obtaining nuclear weapons and I think deterrence has not been effectively used in recent times. We used it very well during the Cold War when we had a bipolar world and what I think the president should do and what our policy should be is to make it very clear to the Iranians that they would be risking massive retaliation were they to launch a nuclear attack on Israel.

In addition, if Iran were to become a nuclear power it could set off an arms race that would be incredibly dangerous and destabilizing because the countries in the region are not going to want Iran to be the only nuclear power so I could imagine that they would be rushing to obtain nuclear weapons themselves. In order to forestall that, creating some kind of a security agreement where we said, no, you do not need to acquire nuclear weapons if you were the subject of an unprovoked nuclear attack by Iran, the United States and hopefully our NATO allies would respond to that as well.

It is a theory that some people have been  ooking at because there is a fear that if Iran, which I hope we can prevent, becoming a nuclear power, but if they were to become one some people worry that they are not deterrable, that they somehow have a different mindset and a worldview that might very well lead the leadership to be willing to become martyrs. I don't buy that but I think we have to test it and one of the ways of testing it is to make it very clear that we are not going to permit them if we can prevent it from them becoming a nuclear power but were they to become some their use of nuclear weapons against Israel would provoke a nuclear response from the United States which personally I believe would prevent it from happening and that we would try to help the other countries that might be intimidated and bulled into submission by Iran because they were a nuclear power, avoid that state by creating this new security umbrella.

by louisprandtl 2008-04-21 06:21PM | 0 recs
That's actually

a somewhat sensical and properly nuanced statement.

by MBNYC 2008-04-21 06:28PM | 0 recs
Glad we agree. However ideally US

should look into selectively target the Islamic Council of Guardians in case they attacked Israel and spare the innocent Iranians. The 300 who control the Iranian government, collectively loot the petroleum wealth while oppressing the Iranians general populace.

by louisprandtl 2008-04-21 06:35PM | 0 recs
Eh.

Isn't what you're talking about, strategic decapitation, normally done without use of mass-casualty nuclear weapons?

Our experience with eliminating the entire leadership of a hostile nation hasn't been too good, frankly, just from a standpoint of effectiveness. Iraq comes to mind, for example. What would ideally happen in Iran is a U.S. engagement with pro-democracy forces and a strengthening of civil society to resist and eventually overturn the regime. That way, whatever new government emerges would have democratic legitimacy distinct from the United States, which would be key to maintaining stability after an eventual regime change.

by MBNYC 2008-04-22 03:53AM | 0 recs
We are talking actions that needs to be taken

if Iran attacked Israel. The Islamic Supreme Council of Guardians in Iran is solely responsible for any action that Iranian Govt takes notwithstanding crazy Ahmadinejad's crowning moment as Iran's President. This Council members had been oppressing Iranians, transformed a country rich in history and the inclusive Sufism into an extremist religious police state. If targeting them in case Iran attacked Israel spares the ordinary Iranians, I say so be it...

Under current circumstances, we should be already working to strengthen the hands of moderates, of the youths who want to get out of the clutches of the extremist mullahs,and of the secular thinkers within Iran. There are ways to work with folks like dissident leaders like Hossein Ali Montazeri who believes in political rights and individual freedom. Personally I think Montazeri today regrets his role in establishment of the Islamic constitution replacing the original much more secular and democratic consitution draft. He had been in the forefront of criticizing Iran's export of terrorism, current confrontational policies of Ahmadinejad including the nuclear one. However I'm not sure that any of the current Presidential contenders know how to deal with Iran in the near future.

by louisprandtl 2008-04-22 07:19PM | 0 recs
My disgust with nuke hypotheticals

centers on the reality that even a limited nuclear exchange has the possibility of extinguishing the human race within a generation, due to fallout, cataclysmic atmospheric disturbances, not to mention that once two or more nuclear countries get it on, it becomes easier for other nuclear nations to air out their particular grievances.

Jesus Christ!  Conventional warfare is bad enough.  I saw enough during my fucking tour in Iraq to last me a lifetime.  Aren't we progressives!?

Iran does NOT possess nuclear weapons.  This is such a bullshit question to parse.

by bjones 2008-04-21 06:22PM | 0 recs
I know they don't.

Thank God she will never be president.  After eight years of Bush and Cheney's puffed-up codpiece saber-rattling, America is ready for a more mature presidency.

by Dumbo 2008-04-21 06:31PM | 0 recs
Re: My disgust with nuke hypotheticals

It's not necessary to use 30-megaton city-busters to wipe out Iran's military capacity and punish them.  Tactical nukes don't produce nuclear winter-type effects.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not into getting on the slippery slope of actually using the damn things.  But the point of having a massive nuclear arsenal--the only point, in fact--is to lay down public markers so that people will refrain from taking the actions that cross those lines.

In short, the only point of possessing nuclear weapons is the threat of their use.  Actual use of the devices, even tactical nukes, is pretty close to unthinkable.  Threats of using them, on the other hand, have a very successful history.

Strangelove:

Mr. President, it is not only possible, it is essential. That is the whole idea of this machine, you know. Deterrence is the art of producing in the mind of the enemy... the fear to attack. And so, because of the automated and irrevocable decision making process which rules out human meddling, the doomsday machine is terrifying. It's simple to understand. And completely credible, and convincing.

Turgidson:

Gee, I wish we had one of them doomsday machines, Stainsy.

Muffley:

But this is fantastic, Strangelove. How can it be triggered automatically?

Strangelove:

Well, it's remarkably simple to do that. When you merely wish to bury bombs, there is no limit to the size. After that they are connected to a gigantic complex of computers. Now then, a specific and clearly defined set of circumstances, under which the bombs are to be exploded, is programmed into a tape memory bank.

. . .

Strangelove:

[B]ut the... whole point of the doomsday machine... is lost... if you keep it a secret! Why didn't you tell the world, eh?

DeSadeski:

It was to be announced at the Party Congress on Monday. As you know, the Premier loves surprises.  


by Trickster 2008-04-21 07:24PM | 0 recs
Re: My disgust with nuke hypotheticals

You know, I am getting too emotionally involved in this debate.

I need to chill and have something cold to drink.

by bjones 2008-04-21 07:53PM | 0 recs
Good grief.

Like Obama would have a different strategy.

If any Nation attacks an ally of the US with nuclear weapons, any POTUS worth their salt would strike back.

That's precisely the stalemate that keeps such an event form ever occurring.

Give up your hyperbole and drama, it isn't becoming. You folks are really stooping to do anything to make the Clinton's out to be the boogey man.

Talk about 'say or do anything to win', now we really know who's supporters and which candidate will really do that, and it ain't the one that Obama whines about.

by emsprater 2008-04-21 06:25PM | 0 recs
I would have a different strategy.

Step 1: I would shut the fuck up about publicly "obliterating" other countries in hypotheticals, especially other countries that we know for a fact don't have nukes.  A country (Iran) that hasn't attacked another country first in FOUR HUNDRED YEARS

by Dumbo 2008-04-21 06:33PM | 0 recs
Re: I would have a different strategy.

This is a hypothetical, and if using that kind of language is what you resort to, then please take it elsewhere.

by VAAlex 2008-04-21 06:46PM | 0 recs
Swearing is bad,"obliterating" is OK?

Your concerned about cursing, but not about throwing around the idea of obliterating an entire country to gain a percentage point in a primary?

Never mind the few million men, women, and children who will grow up listening to sound bites of this kind of crap, and form their opinion of my country from it.  She is threatening to murder people who have no more to do with Iran's horrific and insane rhetoric than progressives do with Bush's.

My god, the cult of personality is amazing with you people. And I used to wonder how we got into the mess we are in with Iraq.  After seeing Hillary's foreign policy ideas...years after she screwed up the most important vote she ever made to authorize force in Iraq...again and again...and years after insisting she is unrepentant for contributing to the slaughter of hundreds of thousands of innocent Iraqi's, her BEST idea is to threaten to obliterate a country.  

And you people are worrying about cursing.

It is not responsible or reasonable, or sane, or Democratic to talk this kind of irresponsible rhetoric.

Clinton has finally completely adopted the Neocon play book. She may as well run with McCain.

by mattjfogarty 2008-04-21 10:41PM | 0 recs
Re: Good grief.

This is crazy.  Israel has nukes of it's own. Once we nuke another country on Israel's behalf what the hell do you think the response will be.  Do you think the nuked will just sit there and take it and not retaliate?  Think about the consequences for god's sake.

by afr114 2008-04-21 07:44PM | 0 recs
Re: Good grief.

Yes, Israel has nukes of it's own.  Are you aware of the size of the state of Israel?  You think that if they are attacked with nuclear weaponry that there will be anything there left to strike back with?

With your thought process, I suppose you are still amazed that Goliath didn't rise from the dead and strike David with a bigger rock.

The point is, if Israel is hit by any country with nuclear weaponry, they will be in no position to strike back.  That's why we are allies of the country.

What was stated was an acceptable response to a hypothetical question.  I can't believe that folks who want to destroy Hillary so much will gag at this response, but have no qualms about accepting Obama's own words earlier in the campaign about attacking Pakistan.

by emsprater 2008-04-22 07:00AM | 0 recs
Hillary basically just made her own treaty

with Israel to engage in nuclear retaliation to protect Israel.  I presume this is part of her Middle East "Umbrella" policy she started to talk about the other night.

Don't these things usually have to go by Congress first?

There are three branches of government, you know.

Oh wait... There WERE three branches.

By the way, I just googled the population of Iran:

Iran -- Population: 65,397,521 (July 2007 est.)

Let's assume we are proposing locking ourselves into a situation where we must prepare to kill not all 65 million, but just 1/3 of that.  That would be 22 million dead.  And it would look ever so cool on CNN!

Also, by the way, if Israel were to attack Iran with nukes, would we nuke Israel?  Just to be fair about it.  

Any other new nuclear aggression treaties up Hillary's sleeve?

by Dumbo 2008-04-21 06:27PM | 0 recs
Re: Hillary basically just made her own treaty

I feel totally 80's reading some of this shit tonight.

Democrats bandying about nuclear threats in completely insane hypotheticals like a bunch of vile Reaganites.  

by bjones 2008-04-21 06:51PM | 0 recs
Re: Hillary basically just made her own treaty

I wasn't even around for Reagan, but I think we're losing some serious perspective here!

by Chelseain32 2008-04-21 09:35PM | 0 recs
Re: Hillary basically just made her own treaty

To start with, i'm not sure where "made a treaty" came from.  She stated a policy.

Second, she didn't say anything about killing tens of millions.  Read up on tactical nukes.  Much of Iran's military capacity could be wiped out pretty rapidly without massive civilian casualties.  Disturbing casualties, yes, of course--not massive, though.  We just wouldn't do it that way.

But here's the main thing: nuclear deterrence.  It has a very good track record.  The point of having nuclear weapons is to threaten their use under certain pre-defined dire circumstances, and thereby prevent those circumstances from coming about.  Unless you pre-define the circumstances, the arsenal is useless.

Now, i'm all in for nuclear disarmament, but in a measured multilateral way.  In the meanwhile, we have the nukes, let's get something useful out of them.

by Trickster 2008-04-21 07:33PM | 0 recs
Re: Hillary basically just made her own treaty

"Second, she didn't say anything about killing tens of millions."

Um, yes she did. "Obliterate" means that there is nothing left ALIVE, in a nation of 65,000,000+ people.

That is tens of millions.

Own it.

by edmandspath 2008-04-21 08:08PM | 0 recs
Re: Hillary basically just made her own treaty

She said "we would be able to obliterate them."  All she promised to actually do is "attack."

I own the fact that we're able to do that.  In fact, I think I owned that fact when I was like 6 or 7.

by Trickster 2008-04-21 08:11PM | 0 recs
Re: "If I'm the president we w

By the way, this really needs to get on the list - imagine, an actual discussion about an actual issue! On the MyDD rec list!

by amiches 2008-04-21 06:44PM | 0 recs
Re: "If I'm the president we w

But that would ruin everything!

by minnesotaryan 2008-04-21 06:48PM | 0 recs
Whoa

Perhaps a moment of silence in respect of the passing of the relative sanity which has prevailed in the politics of nuclear 'deterrence' over the past fifty years or so is in order:


That umbrella of deterrence would be offered, Clinton suggested, in order to deter other nations in the region "from feeling that they have to acquire nuclear weapons. You can't go to the Saudis or the Kuwaitis or UAE and others who have a legitimate concern about Iran and say: 'Well, don't acquire these weapons to defend yourself' unless you're also willing to say we will provide a deterrent backup and we will let the Iranians know that, yes, an attack on Israel would trigger massive retaliation, but so would an attack on those countries that are willing to go under this security umbrella and forswear their own nuclear ambitions."

This is a rather bold proposal. Washington Post columnist Jim Hoagland proposed something similar in January 2007 when he wrote:

"The United States should also be prepared to extend guarantees of territorial security for Arab states in the Gulf region. Bush should announce that he wants consultations with Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Egypt, Jordan and other Arab states -- as well as principal U.S. allies in Europe -- on extending a U.S. or NATO nuclear umbrella over friendly states in the Gulf. This would be a direct defensive response to Iran's destructive drive for a nuclear program that can produce atomic weapons. U.S. 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."

But Doug Bandow, a former special assistant to President Reagan, says this proposal is a dangerous one.

"It's one thing to promise to respond to a nuclear attack by a potential global hegemon, the Soviet Union, against a major ally, such as Germany or Japan, especially when Washington has deliberately disarmed them," he wrote last year in The National Interest. "Very different is to promise to protect Jordan or Kuwait, friendly countries, true, but neither historic nor important allies, against an attack by Iran, a regional power without global reach. The latter is an extraordinary extension of a doctrine fraught with danger."

That's because, he wrote, such an umbrella "makes conflict more likely in other ways. First, if the U.S. commitment is not credible, there is no deterrent effect. ...Second, if war erupts, U.S. involvement (assuming America makes good on its promise) is automatic. Washington loses the ability to weigh costs and benefits in the particular case at the particular time...Third, offering to lend America's military to a friendly nation reduces the latter's need to develop its own defense and foster its own alliances. This perverse impact of U.S. defense promises and deployments is evident in East Asia today. The primary example is Japan, which only now, six decades after the end of World War II, is debating a more active defense and foreign policy that is commensurate with its abilities and interests."

He calls the policy "reckless."

Jake Tapper - Clinton's "Umbrella of Deterrence" for Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the UAE ABC 17 Apr 08

And before we have this acrimonious debate perhaps we should all do a little cribbing and read something along the lines of Extended Deterrence: The U.S. Credibility Gap in the Middle East before potentially exposing an embarrassing lack of understanding of the underlying issues.

I actually am sympathetic to the notion of a nuclear deterrent arrangement with Israel, in the event of a proven nuclear attack capability being developed in Iran, along the lines of that provided to Great Britain in the Cold War.  But to turn this to adversarial campaign rhetoric is, dare I say it, naïve and irresponsible.  To extend it to the Gulf States is rash.  To throw it out as a bit of 'red meat' to an electorate which has not heard the pros and cons of the debate and the implications and constraints on the future options of the nation is deplorable.

By all means let's have this debate but for pity's sake folks, don't shoot from the hip.  That's how we got into this mess in the first place.

by Shaun Appleby 2008-04-21 06:56PM | 0 recs
Re: Whoa

I'm sure your buddies at Irving Kristol's "National Interest" dislike many nuclear counter-proliferation strategies, but Bandow's criticism transparently misrepresents the idea. The Washington Quarterly article is better but confuses the purpose of tactical nuclear weapons in Western Europe with a strategic nuclear deterrent.

But the TWQ article does hit on the fundamental issue: credibility. Israel is under our de facto nuclear umbrella, and all of the states in the middle east understand that. Hillary Clinton is not saying anything new or remarkable there, though obviously her clarity makes the deterrent more effective, something Senator Obama should learn. A clear extension of that umbrella to other middle eastern states, in the event that Iran acquired nuclear weapons and in exchange for forswearing acquiring the same, would make the umbrella more credible. And in fact, as the article points out, Saudi Arabia has explored just such a formal agreement.

The idea is neither rash nor red meat, but a sensible proposal to our allies and a signal to Iran that their nuclear program may not be worth the cost.

But I'm curious, regardless of his stumbling over the issue last August, do you honestly believe that Obama objects to using our nuclear arsenal to deter nuclear attacks on our allies? And if he does object, why doesn't he say so?

by souvarine 2008-04-21 08:11PM | 0 recs
Re: Whoa

Well I wasn't necessarily endorsing any of those views but trying to point out there is a vast body of thought on this subject and it is well worth examining before we throw out fifty years of essentially bipartisan evolution on this issue in the interest of a short-term solution.

And as I said, and as you point out, extending the 'nuclear umbrella,' de facto or otherwise, to Israel seems to have some merit, on the proviso that it is necessary.  That presumes we have already failed in our efforts to halt the proliferation of nuclear weapons by Iran which it seems to early to accept as  a given, though the handwriting is on the wall.  But still the issue of 'credibility' arises and our past experience indicates that in the absence of a US military presence in Israel, a disturbing thought, the credibility will not be achieved.  Perhaps Israel is an exception to this case but it is hard to see where it would be and Great Britain, for instance, was not.

But as for extending the 'nuclear umbrella' to the Gulf States this is where we part company.  Firstly the issue of 'credibility' is problematic to the point of seeming unresolvable.  Surely we are not proposing a US troop presence there, that is partly how we got into trouble in the region in the first place and I'm sure it would be considered destabilising by our potential hosts.

Secondly you have a situation where the nuclear guarantee is far less clear than it was in Cold War Europe or Asia.  Who would we insuring the Gulf States against?  Iran, to be sure, but Pakistan?  Israel?  Each other?  Where is the line drawn between conventional and nuclear guarantees?  We have adopted a policy regarding India and Pakistan which guarantees nothing of the kind to either.  Why would we do differently in the Gulf?

And given the recent non-aggression agreements among the Caspian states how would such a guarantee affect our relations with Russia in the long run?  It gets very messy.  I'm guessing Hillary's foreign policy team is doing a pretty good impression of coughing up their skulls right about now.  I would hate to have to write the white paper on this policy.

Our challenge is to compete in Eurasia for energy markets and resources, not alienate potential partners and constrain ourselves for a generation with an ill-conceived security agreement with states whose stability is way lower than our allies in Europe and Asia with whom we have had similar arrangements in the past.

No, I think fools go where angels fear to tread.  An arrangement with Israel, while potentially necessary, is problematic enough without being drawn into the rapidly shifting, and unpredictable, dynamics of Gulf and Near Eastern nuclear politics.

by Shaun Appleby 2008-04-21 08:44PM | 0 recs
Re: Whoa

"troops on the ground" is where you and Ms. McInnis go wrong. The American troops stationed in Europe, and their tactical nuclear weapons, were not part of our nuclear deterrent, they were there to deter a conventional invasion. Same with the trip-wire troops in South Korea, who were there long before the North developed nuclear weapons.

A nuclear deterrent does not require ground troops to be credible, it requires demonstrations of political will.

I'm still curious what you think Obama's position is on responding to a nuclear attack on an ally.

by souvarine 2008-04-21 10:40PM | 0 recs
Re: Whoa

Well, I beg to differ.  There is ample evidence that while the troops on the ground had the direct role of repelling a conventional invasion they were in fact a vital part of the credibility.  There is an extensive contemporary literature on this.

Let's put it this way, where did we ever extend this assurance where we didn't have a 'troops on the ground' presence in excess of the Marines at the US Embassy?

by Shaun Appleby 2008-04-21 11:19PM | 0 recs
bah

Interviewer: "Mrs Clinton, what if a country of 66 million Muslims attack Israel?"

Hillary: "Well we'd kill every last one of them, wouldn't we?"

Does her answer roughly mirror US policy?  Eh, pretty much.

Okay, better question: Does answering this question publicly help our stance in the world?  God no.

Hey, if she wants to provide more fodder extremists can use to convince young men in the to strap on some explosives and shrapnel and head to the nearest moderate mosque or US convoy, great.  Wouldn't be any change from the asinine rhetoric of the last 8 years.

by minnesotaryan 2008-04-21 07:09PM | 0 recs
We will attack Iran

oblit·er·ate - to remove from existence : destroy utterly all trace, indication, or significance of

I'm stunned. What a colossally stupid thing to say.
She could have used any number of phrases and terms to talk about neutralizing Iran, but she chooses "obliterate", as in killing everyone in the entire country  - as if that would be a logical response.

Wow. I do believe she just lost any shred of a chance she has.

Listening to this, supers? This is bat-shit crazy.

by edmandspath 2008-04-21 07:10PM | 0 recs
our choices are: war, nuclear war, or hope
I'll take hope. HRS's performance on Olbermann tonight was downright disturbing.

by grasshopper 2008-04-21 07:17PM | 0 recs
BS

She never said she wanted war or anything like that. She was answering HIS question. Get it?

She was answering and talking about deterrence.

I swear.... do some of you live in a friggin bubble?

I am guessing that you want the USA to go back to a time of Isolation. Right?

No matter what goes on in the world, we will just put on our blinders, plug our ears and go nah anh nah nah nah... I can't hear you..... right?

geeez.

get a clue.

by kevin22262 2008-04-21 08:14PM | 0 recs
Re: BS

whatever helps you sleep.

by grasshopper 2008-04-21 08:21PM | 0 recs
Whatever

reality you want to live in.... right?

Truth is a funny thing... isn't it?

by kevin22262 2008-04-21 08:29PM | 0 recs
Re: Whatever

don't even try man. These people are so divorced from the real world that had JFK been running for president or had been the president now thay would have formed a lynch mob.

by tarheel74 2008-04-21 08:40PM | 0 recs
Re: Whatever

Oh boy, that is an interesting choice of words.

by Chelseain32 2008-04-21 09:53PM | 0 recs
Re: Whatever

or for that matter FDR.

by tarheel74 2008-04-21 08:40PM | 0 recs
Re: our choices are: war, nuclear war, or hope

Of course it was disturbing...to you. Because Obama's hitman on MSNBC was made to look like an idiot. Olberman came out clueless, ignorant and petulant...in other words he got his clock cleaned.

by tarheel74 2008-04-21 08:38PM | 0 recs
Re: our choices are: war, nuclear war, or hope

Do you think so?  I wasn't too sure.  My concern is that crazy laugh Hill gets when she is nervous.  My cousin Sarah gets all like that when she is in deep crap with my aunt Jeanie... and it makes her sound so stupid!

Annoying, but I'm glad others see it differently!

by Chelseain32 2008-04-21 09:55PM | 0 recs
Re: our choices are: war, nuclear war, or hope

It was also disturbing to the BBC, who's front page headline this morning reads, "Clinton's poll day threat to Iran -- Hillary Clinton issues a stark warning to Iran, as Pennsylvania Democrats vote between her and Barack Obama." So it's no just me...

by grasshopper 2008-04-22 08:19AM | 0 recs
Sick.

God. Can you imagine that phone call at 3 am? And she's tired? Forget about imagining sniper fire. This could ignite world war 3.

by april34fff 2008-04-21 07:21PM | 0 recs
so you are in favor of letting Iran wipe Israel

off the map?

You know what she said and you are misquoting her.  But hey, if you think we should allow Iran to drop a nuke on Israel then I am just going to have to disagree with you.

by TeresaInPa 2008-04-21 07:34PM | 0 recs
Yes.

But hey, if you think we should allow Iran to drop a nuke on Israel then I am just going to have to disagree with you.

That's a perfectly valid interpretation of what I wrote.

You've given up even trying, haven't you?

by MBNYC 2008-04-21 08:26PM | 0 recs
Re: so you are in favor of letting Iran wipe Israe

One of the things Hillary forgets in this interview is that Israel is a nuclear power. Israel has a very strong military that is armed to the teeth and could, without anyone's help, obliterate Iran. What she said is dangerous. She is saber rattling for votes. It's disgusting.

by grasshopper 2008-04-22 08:30AM | 0 recs
I Would be Scared

Get ready for WW3 if she's the president.....

by hootie4170 2008-04-21 08:20PM | 0 recs
Question...

What would OBAMA do if he was president and Israel was nuked or threatened with nukes?

Take Israel out of the equation... what would Obama do if this situation happened to anyone?

In response to you and others here... what would Obama do about deterrence IF Iran was to get "the bomb"?

As Hillary Clinton said to KO... she does not believe the leaders of Iran want to be "martyrs", so she does not believe we will ever have a "nuclear" conflict with Iran. BUT... if they chose to be aggressive ... then what do you do? What do you use as a deterrence?

Talking and diplomacy are GREAT but sometimes you need that big stick to back up your words.

If talk was all we needed to solve "conflicts", then why would we need cops? Why would parents have to discipline?

by kevin22262 2008-04-21 08:22PM | 0 recs
Re: Question...

He probably wouldn't even take this question as it's just an outlandish hypothetical question meant to get the better of the candidate.  Look at the nonsense of them trying to make em choose eachother as the VP.  And on this I think Obama is in the right.  Why make such a dumb made up scenario when we are not there yet.  We don't have a nominee yet, and Iran doesn't have nukes, do they?

by Chelseain32 2008-04-21 10:00PM | 0 recs
Wow, this is really, really horrible.

You know what?  This is a totally reasonable foreign policy decision, and one that I am in support of.  If Iran made a nuclear attack on Israel, it is important that they understand that it will bear a retaliation for the United States.  How can we possibly use deterrence in order to keep the peace if we give Iran all our cards and a pass to push us and our allies around?  If Iran nukes Israel to no repercussions, when are they going to strike an ally (or in the U.S.) that we WILL retaliate for?

The idea that Senator Clinton took a position that is anything other than a completely diplomatically correct statement is blatantly taking these comments out of context and in a remarkably ham-handed way.

Typical DailyKos crap.

by hornplayer 2008-04-21 08:23PM | 0 recs
Re-read the part

of the diary where I talk about Israel's independent nuclear deterrent, and how Clinton is actually acting against Israeli security interests.

by MBNYC 2008-04-21 08:28PM | 0 recs
Re: Re-read the part

I read it, and honestly, I believe it is a great example of conforming the world on sees to match what they want to believe.  You took the time to go into great depth on this, but I fundamentally disagree that backing up Israel is somehow detrimental or that Iran's hardline regime is about to change.  I am well aware that there are many Democratic sentiments, but this is an entrenched, fundamentalist, totalitarian regime we are talking about here.  Pretending that the nation is on the verge of, or even headed anywhere near Democracy within the next 30 years is simply not something that can be realistically "bet on" as opposed to protecting U.S. interests and making religious fanatic, terrorist sympathetic regimes understand that we are not to be messed with.

"Israel has it's own nukes," and "60% of Iranians surveyed say they disagree with their government," does not in itself warrant the abandonment of American interests nor the active protection of one of America's closest allies.

by hornplayer 2008-04-21 08:39PM | 0 recs
We're talking about

two different things here. One, is the Iranian government odious? Of course.

But what's important here is that Iran is not a nuclear-weapons state, and that their people prefer a route, which we and only we can facilitate, to stay that way. It's more important, arguably, for us and for Israel that Iran stay non-nuclear than to threaten them with something that's going to happen anyway, especially when we assume that Clinton's statement actually provided them with an incentive to go nuclear.

Israel hasn't needed or even requested, as far as I know, the American nuclear deterrent for twenty years. There's a lesson in that, and it's not that they were too shy to ask. They simply don't need it.

by MBNYC 2008-04-21 09:07PM | 0 recs
Re: We're talking about

Yet there are several Middle Eastern states who Hillary Clinton also wants to include under her "nuclear umbrella".  If we aren't going to back Israel, I doubt their counterparts in muslim governments are going to believe that America is about to stick our necks out for them.

At the very least, this diary does misrepresent her intent by taking her quote out of the context in its headline, and I believe makes way too much hay over a foreign policy standpoint which many, if not most, Americans will believe is entirely reasonable.  For the record, I speak that as an ardent opponent of the Iraq War since the onset.  If Israel feels that it does not need our deterrent, that is fine; however, it is important that America also make clear in strong, unequivocal terms what is and is not acceptable action for the Iranian government.

Sometimes you need to be tough to be able to preserve the peace.  Peace requires strength.

by hornplayer 2008-04-21 09:43PM | 0 recs
Re: We're talking about

Well then why not try and give reasons why we should stick our necks out for those other countries?  Can we even afford to do this, much less should we?  You think we should, so tell us why?  Cuz I'm liking what I'm hearing about these crazy hypotheticals less and less.  Ever see Dr. Strangelove?

Let's not forget that Iran is not the aggressor in this region.  Iraq was, and now we are.  Oh, and Israel from time to time.

by Chelseain32 2008-04-21 10:14PM | 0 recs
Re: Re-read the part

Well as we learned in High School, Iran actually had a democrartic goverment, until we removed him and put in the Shah.  Operation Ajax, it was called.  Read about it.  Fascinating.  

Anyway, if we shouldn't pretend that they are on their way back to democracy, why should we pretend that they have nukes?  

Or maybe we should just wipe them off the face of the earth preemptively... yeah, let's do it, I'm pumped!  Sorry, Wedding Crashers moment.

by Chelseain32 2008-04-21 10:07PM | 0 recs
What would Obama do?

he was asked the same question and he said that he will find such an act unacceptable....there you go the next president of the US (god forbid) does not understand nuclear deterrence and will not articulate what he will do to either prevent the Iranians from getting nuclear weapons or if an ally gets nuked, instead for political reasons (and political reasons alone) he will play safe to get brownie points from his clueless supporters. Talk about politics of hope!

by tarheel74 2008-04-21 08:36PM | 0 recs
Re: What would Obama do?

Dude, you sound about my age (19).  Why so jaded?

by Chelseain32 2008-04-21 10:16PM | 0 recs
insult noted

You make your case more effectively when you don't include insults.

by Carl Nyberg 2008-04-22 01:37AM | 0 recs
If I'm the president we will attack Iran

The title of your diary is misleading.  Big surprise.

Anyway.. it's already been said.  She said "if" Iran attacks Israel, as they have threatened to do many times.  And as she said tonight, she hopes that the threat of retaliation would be a deterrent.  She also said she doesn't believe the Iranian government wants to be martyrs by acting in such a way that they would guarantee their own destruction.  

by JustJennifer 2008-04-21 09:30PM | 0 recs
Re: "If I'm the president

So I'm one of those "crazies" who opposed the Afgan war... I think this is just insane.  Shows little understanding on the Iranian political turmoil, and sets a terrible war.  We have to get rid of Cold-War thinking, and Hillary on KO tonight expressed Cold-War or even Clash of Civilization ideas, the answer should have been Iran is not going to get Nuclear weapons during a Clinton Administration. Not, I will blow them up if they do.Does she really want a MAD policy with Iran.  Must I go back to a Marcuse argument to show why this is stupid.

by CardBoard 2008-04-21 09:48PM | 0 recs
The Afghanistan War is a failure

by a number of measures.

I think we should open the question, "Did it make sense to invade Afghanistan in response to the 9/11 attacks?"

by Carl Nyberg 2008-04-22 01:28AM | 0 recs
My lord

I don't see what the uproar is about. As one of our closest allies, if Iran attacks Israel, it is our duty to respond and respond forcefully. That means military force. Why should we leave a friend in the dust who we spend billions on every year?

It is not surprising that people are misleading this story by quoting Clinton without the qualifier. The qualifier is if Iran attacks first.

by RJEvans 2008-04-21 09:56PM | 0 recs
HRC legitimizes the bogus hypothetical

HRC's answer legitimizes the bogus scenario of Iran using nuclear weapons.

This is the same bogus scenario used to justify the Iraq War.

HRC bought the BS on Iraq; she's peddling the BS on Iran.

by Carl Nyberg 2008-04-22 01:26AM | 0 recs
What's the problem?


The question was, if Iran attacks Israel with nuclear weapons, what would you do?

The answer is simple. You return the favor. It's the same policy we had with the Soviet Union. It's called MAD, mutually assured destruction. That's what prevented a war with the Soviets all the years of the Cold War.

What do you think would happen if we said, oh, if you nuke Israel of any other country, we'll just lob a few cruise missiles your way so duck.

Deterrence is what prevents wars. Weakness invites wars.

by Nobama 2008-04-21 10:27PM | 0 recs
Re: What's the problem?

The problem is that you sound like you are quoting GEORGE BUSH!

by Renie 2008-04-21 10:45PM | 0 recs
Re: What's the problem?

Wrong.  He sounds like John F. Kennedy.  Dubya's pre-emptive war doctrine is another thing entirely.

***A

by adrienne4dean 2008-04-21 11:01PM | 0 recs
Re: What's the problem?

Deterrence is what prevents wars. Weakness invites wars.

Heads of state around the world hear you loud and clear.

by Mostly 2008-04-21 10:52PM | 0 recs
Re: What's the problem?

Obama supporters want to hold hands and sing the "Yes We Can" song.

***A

by adrienne4dean 2008-04-21 10:55PM | 0 recs
Re: What's the problem?

That's like saying Hillary supporters never met an Arab they didn't want to bomb.

by Mostly 2008-04-21 10:59PM | 0 recs
Re: What's the problem?

If you had any experience, you'd know that Iranians aren't Arabs.

***A

by adrienne4dean 2008-04-21 11:10PM | 0 recs
Re: What's the problem?

The entire statement was supposed to be stupid.

by Mostly 2008-04-21 11:15PM | 0 recs
how did weakness

lead to the 9/11 attacks?

How did U.S. weakness lead to the Iraq War? The Gulf War? Panama invasion? Vietnam?

by Carl Nyberg 2008-04-22 01:30AM | 0 recs
Could we win an arms race with China?

Two points:

First, saying you need to use nuclear weapons for retaliatory purposes against Iran makes no sense.  Nukes are good for two things, turning a city into a parking lot or used tactically to destroy hardened targets.  We could wipe out the ability for Iran to function as a country without nukes.  The only thing nukes would be is a tool of revenge.

Secondly and more importantly is this notion of a nuclear umbrella in the middle east.  The nuclear umbrella strategy only works as a means to deter world powers from being to aggressive in a MAD scenario.  It would have no power over radical Islamics that have no problem creating a million martyrs if it meant wiping Israel of the face of the earth.

The only countries that would take any serious note of the POTUS saying "nuclear umbrella" would be China and Russia.  Can you imagine if China and Russia starting forming there own "nuclear umbrellas" in the middle east?  Could we win Cold War II when we directly enable Chinas economy?

These statements from Senator Clinton are bad no mater how you look at them.

by routerdude 2008-04-21 11:15PM | 0 recs
Re: Could we win an arms race with China?

Agree with everything you said about the consequences of a middle-eastern "nuclear umbrella".

Nevertheless, I still can't be sure that I'm totally against it.  Why?  Because they'll probably call it NEATO.

by Mostly 2008-04-21 11:36PM | 0 recs
Re: "If I'm the president

Ah yes, yet another partial quote hit piece from yet another obamabot from DKOS but without a minimal clue on foreign policy, deterrence or strategic goals behind words. what a surprise!

I am the last one to believe Iran actually will act all that irrationally as everyone believes, particularly directly. I think more often than not they would like to leave the impression that they might act irrationally and hence the world powers be ware when it comes to using their power, in their neighborhood. Just like Pakistan has been playing the US for a long time, with Musharraf playing good cop to the rest of their military and intelligence apparatus, the bad cop. Pakistanis have been covertly suggesting that you never know what would happen to the nukes and how they would be used and whose hands it would fall to blackmail the world, if Musharraf goes out of power. It is my guess that Iran sees that and believes that it too would love to be in that position. I have read some pakistani analysts suggesting that as well. There may be elements in Iranian clergy who could go "postal". But in general I think Iran is a very rational actor, although they would like to use anything they can to keep world powers guessing. Iran more than likely desires better relations with US, perhaps not at the moment since US is bleeding in Iraq anyway.

However military analyst geniuses like you, should read up a bit or think a little more before posting this pablum. Israel's nuclear ambiguity is no ambiguity at all to anyone with a rudimentary intelligence apparatus and hence Im sure the Iranians know that they have all the weapons they need to retalliate against Iran. However I dont know about Israel's second strike capability and what it is based on. You can always interpret statements from the US to Iran as a guarantee that there will be retalliation, even if Israeli second strike doesnt pan out or gets destroyed. But I dont think that is the reason you would want to indicate that US wants to put Israel under its Nuclear umbrella. I hardly think Iran is stupid enough to initiate strikes against Israel directly.

But it is rather the following possibilities that are more worrisome in general and even if unlikely one needs to be prepared for:

1) Iran passes nuclear knowhow, if not materials/missiles to non-state actors like Hezbollah or for that matter other states in a clandestine fashion, many have done thus far. Now unless this is easily proven in the eyes of the world, Israel cant just strike Iran by default and expect the world to accept that, even with US support. Particularly the Arab nations around the area, get impacted by such nulcear strike and also the public opinion forces them to initiate any and all violence against Israel ,due to the "unjust" strike against Iran, even with some reasonable intelligence. Israel cant afford to start a war with every Arab nation on this point. So the one option it is likely to pursue is early strike against Iranian nuke installations and that has enormous consequences which really is not the interest of anyone. A statement from the US can perhaps help put a restraint on Israel's desire to do preemptive strike against Irans sites.

2) What if Iran once it has the nukes, decides that it has the deterrence and can punish the US in Iraq or elsewhere in the neighborhood by making US military missions and general strategic objectives much more difficult in a much more open way or clandestine way? Surely they dont have the ability to reach the US with their nukes and hence cant threaten the US in any direct way. But they can threaten the local allies of US not to cooperate with the US. Even Israel has to weigh their co-operation vs the risk against Iran. Now in this instance US indication that any action of any kind against any of its allies in the region will provoke US to retaliate, helps enhance the deterrance since the Iranians surely understand that US can attack them without risking an attack from Iran, while others in the region including Israel cant and hence are subject to blackmail. So this one isnt really about Iran attacking first, but rather others like Israel being unable to take action on Iran for whatever it does against their interests, short of a direct nuclear attack. This in essence is just saber rattling so Iranians wont blackmail their neighbors, the way Pakistan does with India. They regularly provide cover for terrorists to cross into India and for fear of nuclear escalation India has to restrained.

3)Political reality in the US. Lets say Israel is fully secure under all circumstances and Iran cant threaten Israel with nuke strikes orany other action despite its nuclear arsenal. Even then there are other actors in the region who would want the US to extend their nuclear umbrella to, since they dont have any cover. Now no politician in the US is going to have a nuclear umbrella including Arab states in the neighborhood of Israel and not at least claim that Israel is the first nation under the umbrella (irrespective of what their own capabilities are) So you have to do the obligatory saber rattling for "protecting Israel from Iran's nukes" when the spectre of nuclear attack on Israel is specifically being brought up.

to me what this says is that our leaders are recognizing that Iran will have nukes at some point. and it is their attempt to 1) warn Iran of consequences for clandestine nuke attack on anyone including Israel from non-state actors even if Iran didnt intend that (like what was supposedly conveyed to North Korea). 2) do some saber rattling to keep the all powerful Israeli Lobby from throwing a fit.(I have seen some well argued articles claiming that such a thing doesnt exist except in some folks minds. I am skeptical however. I do think there are quite a few powerful lobbies advocating for Israel in this country)

Other than the shallow fact free clinton bashing you engage in, this is a great bot diary indeed!!

by pdxarch 2008-04-21 11:16PM | 0 recs
So much fail

to choose from, but I'll confine myself to saying that grade-school insults don't mask the fact that you obviously know nothing of either foreign or military policy. Just one example:

Iran passes nuclear knowhow, if not materials/missiles to non-state actors like Hezbollah or for that matter other states in a clandestine fashion, many have done thus far.

Highly unlikely, because fissile material has a molecular fingerprint that makes it identifiable. Therefore, if, say, Hezbollah acquired and used an Iranian nuke, Iran would still very certainly face retaliation. But the question is academic, because non-state actors generally don't have the resources or facilities to produce nuclear weapons even with fissile material.

There's more to add, but there's so much stupid all over this thread that to focus just on your admirable contribution to the pile would be an undue over-allocation of resources.

Toodles, champ.

by MBNYC 2008-04-22 03:38AM | 0 recs
Re: So much fail

Alright genius, I will waste a litte more time in educating you, although it is admittedly an insane exercise for bots dont seem to have the propensity to learn anything in depth. Did you specifically pick out "fissile" material from my reply somewhere or you pulled it out of your rear? But lets go with your argument first.

You say: "Highly unlikely, because fissile material has a molecular fingerprint that makes it identifiable. Therefore, if, say, Hezbollah acquired and used an Iranian nuke, Iran would still very certainly face retaliation"

Lets say fissile material is identified with 100% certainty to a source like Pakistan or Russia you would then retaliate against either of those? You havent been living in a cave, have you? There is much unsecured or some even missing stockpiles of fissile material that can and likely has fallen into the hands of "terrorists". If theft is a problem for Russia or Pakistan (or for that matter AQ khan like figure hands it over either thru Iran or directly to a non-state actor)every country could face the same problem. Have you even bothered to read any research reports on this topic even mentioning this precise scenario and how the US would react in such cases. This is an enormously complicated scenario to simply retaliate at will. Hence some emphasis in the research circles to avoid this scenario by pre-empting if you can. But the validity of that is another discussion. Just google and you will find a ton of reports on this. If Im insane enough to waste more time on you, I might even attach a link or two. Pls read and learn before you embarass yourself more and more with each post.

And then this gem from you:

"But the question is academic, because non-state actors generally don't have the resources or facilities to produce nuclear weapons even with fissile material"

And here is the response in a paper published in a UMich symposium and on the Federation of American Scientists website. Not exactly a bot authored nonsensical article which would likely be your favorite reference. But I prefer well researched references of the academic or similar kind.

"Unfortunately, the manufacturing of a gun-type
device is quite simple and within the capability of many terrorist groups-- if they had the U-235 metal".

Read the rest of it here:
http://www.fas.org/rlg/PNWM_UMich.pdf

And please, dont make me waste any further time on educating you on the possibility of acquisition of nuclear weapons by non-state actors by acquiring materials and assembling or acquiring weapons themselves (which seems like a much lower probability than the former). There is literally a ton of papers and articles published on this, including CIA reports. pls go read them before you spout out your nonsensical claim about non-state actors.

Look how you wasted a bunch of my time doing useful work instead of doing simple google searches.

by pdxarch 2008-04-22 12:45PM | 0 recs
If Hillary becomes president...

Might it not be in Iran and China's interests to sign a mutual defense treaty, in light of what Hillary has said?  

This is one of the scenarios that was gamed out by Richard Clarke during the Clinton years.  It ensures a secure oil supply for China from a non-Western-allied country and it gives Iran greater security from the US and Israel.  But it's not good for us.  Why?  It has the potential to create a dangerous series of dominoes that can drag us into a real international nuclear conflict with powers greater than just Iran, and possibly through actions which we have no power to prevent, like a rogue terrorist incident that provokes Israeli retaliation against Iran, which leads to Iran and China getting involved, which involves us getting involved, etc.  In the light of this, third-level security alignments can arise with other nuclear and non-nuclear powers that don't benefit the US and further hem in our ability to make cowboy nuke threats.

You don't want to say crap out loud that makes such agreements appealing or necessary.  

"Speak softly and carry a big stick."  -- Teddy Roosevelt.  Bush forgot that.  Apparently Hillary, too.

by Dumbo 2008-04-22 12:26AM | 0 recs
the meaning of "never again"

Israel's supporters get all excited when an Iranian politician says something that gets translated as wiping Israel off the map b/c they equate this with genocide.

But Israel's hardcore supporters (AIPAC) cheers when politicians talk about obliterating Iran.

Apparently genocide against Israel's foes is OK.

I thought "never again" was a pledge that humanity would never again standby and allow genocide. But it appears to mean something else to some people.

by Carl Nyberg 2008-04-22 01:22AM | 0 recs
I'm astounded at the ignorance of HRC

apologists.

Bush justified invading Iraq by fabricating a story that Iraq represented a threat b/c of weapons of mass destruction.

Many of the same Neo Con players are trying to fabricate a story that Iran represents a threat b/c of weapons of mass destruction.

These people want to expand the war in Iraq to include a war against Iran.

HRC defends her vote for invading Iraq by saying she was the sucker for Bush's propaganda.

But in accepting the completely bogus hypothetical HRC has crossed over from the camp of the bamboozled to joining with the bamboozlers in peddling the lies that make war possible.

I am astounded that HRC supporters rationalize HRC's responses as just doing right by Israel. HRC is not doing right by Israel. She's doing right by Neo Cons, Israel hawks and war profiteers.

by Carl Nyberg 2008-04-22 01:36AM | 0 recs
Nuclear Holocaust
Does she really think that Russia and China will sit on the fence and relax, while the US unilaterally obliterates Iran.
The only approach that will reduce the risk for further proliferation in the Middle East is through international cooperation and not by unilateral chest pounding. One would think that the US learned it's lesson by going it alone in Iraq but it apparantly hasn't landed with Hillary.
by hebi 2008-04-22 02:12AM | 0 recs
Re: Imagine how everyone here would react...

fyi, thanks for the 0-rating. just because i'm an obama supporter doesn't mean i won't say something if one or us is being disruptive.

by Johnny Gentle Famous Crooner 2008-04-22 06:08AM | 0 recs
Re: Imagine how everyone here would react...

Imagine the outrage if Obama had said he would attack Pakistan.

Oh yeah, from his supporters there wasn't any.

Figures.

So what's with giving folks 'hide' ratings when they are not indicated?  Truth hurts in print?

by emsprater 2008-04-22 07:09AM | 0 recs
Re: Imagine how everyone here would react...

she's got Izzy's back, just like they got ours, what's the big deal?

by BlueDoggyDogg 2008-04-22 11:07AM | 0 recs

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