Tuesday, April 22, 2008

HRC's Israel/Iran Insanity

So Senator Hillary Clinton, either in a play for last-minute Jewish support (haven't the states with the greatest percentage Jewish populations already voted? I'll investigate that) or just to show her true, hawkish self, has been getting pumped about nuclear war with Iran over last week or so. Ben Smith was one of the first to notice:

The news for the Israeli press out of Thursday's debate was her threat to Iran:

"I think that we should be looking to create an umbrella of deterrence that goes much further than just Israel," she said. "Of course I would make it clear to the Iranians that an attack on Israel would incur massive retaliation from the United States."

Tonight, in an interview with ABC, she took a question on an Iranian nuclear attack on Israel.

"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."

The move from vague threats to a specific commitment -- and the vocabulary seems to suggest nuclear retaliation, if not to actually say that -- seems like a substantive change in the country's approach to the Middle East

Howard Wolfson, HRC's #2 strategist, was quick to tell Ben that she was not referring to nuclear weapons. But as Ben noticed, "massive retaliation" is a very specific military term:

"Massive retaliation," as a reader pointed out, is a term of art in nuclear strategy and a cornerstone of nuclear deterrence.

Clinton seemed aware of the term's pedigree when Olbermann asked her about Iran.

"We used [deterrence] 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," she said.

As both Ben and Matt Stoller over at OpenLeft point out, this is a marked departure from past U.S. policy of, from what I am aware, avoiding direct promises of nuclear action. Talk about hawkish, GOP-esque foreign policy. She is literally trying to scare the hell out of people and is signalling dangerously ideological Zionism. More and more, it seems the Iraq War vote was not a single incident of political or other calculation, but rather, simply, the action of someone well to the right of the Democratic Party--and, indeed, the country as a whole these days--when it comes to foreign policy.

Thank God she won't be our nominee. I don't even think the GOP says things like this.

P.S: I'm another poster named Matt, who just emerged from the occasional post at my own blog (http://suffolkprogressive.blogspot.com). But I think I will move here, thanks to Ewan's generous offer.

1 comment:

sockrateaser said...

Nice... I was also a little shocked by the statements. What even more bizarre is Israel has its own nuclear weapons, so it doesn't exactly need the US to defend it.