Monday, July 27, 2009

Clinton Speaks of Shielding Mideast from Iran, suggesting a nuclear Iran can be deterred by the U.S.

"The best way to blunt [the] threat [of Iranian nuclear weapons] - which is still not imminent - has always been deterrence and containment, a policy that worked against Stalin and Mao and works against North Korea, a far more unstable and bizarre regime. Secretary Clinton correctly outlined such a policy last week." Fareed Zakaria wrote on Saturday in Newsweek

Key European nations -- probably including Russia and Germany -- now believe the world will have to live with such an Iranian capability rather than take military action or impose harsh sanctions. Jim Hoagland wrote in Sunday's Washington Post

PHUKET, Thailand —Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton warned Wednesday that the United States would consider extending a “defense umbrella” over the Middle East if the country continued to defy international demands that it halt work that could lead to nuclear weapons.

…Speaking during a televised town hall meeting in Bangkok, Mrs. Clinton said, “We want Iran to calculate what I think is a fair assessment, that if the U.S. extends a defense umbrella over the region, if we do even more to support the military capacity of those in the gulf, it’s unlikely that Iran will be any stronger or safer, because they won’t be able to intimidate and dominate, as they apparently believe they can, once they have a nuclear weapon.”…

Mrs. Clinton later clarified her comments on Iran, delivered in advance of a regional meeting here, saying her warning that the United States might create such an umbrella did not represent any backing away from the Obama administration’s position that it must prevent Tehran from obtaining a bomb capability. But her words suggested that the administration was developing a strategy should all efforts at negotiation fail.

…Israel’s minister of intelligence and atomic energy, Dan Meridor, told Israeli Army radio: “I was not thrilled to hear the American statement from yesterday that they will protect their allies with a nuclear umbrella, as if they have already come to terms with a nuclear Iran. I think that’s a mistake.” (NY Times, July 23, 2009)

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