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Somehow, This Doesn’t Strike Me As A Good Idea

by @ 7:05 am on December 12, 2008. Filed under Foreign Affairs, Iran, Israel

The Obama Administration would purportedly issue a striking guarantee:

U.S. President-elect Barack Obama’s administration will offer Israel a “nuclear umbrella” against the threat of a nuclear attack by Iran, a well-placed American source said earlier this week. The source, who is close to the new administration, said the U.S. will declare that an attack on Israel by Tehran would result in a devastating U.S. nuclear response against Iran.

But America’s nuclear guarantee to Israel could also be interpreted as a sign the U.S. believes Iran will eventually acquire nuclear arms.

Secretary of state-designate Hillary Clinton had raised the idea of a nuclear guarantee to Israel during her campaign for the Democratic Party’s nomination for the presidency. During a debate with Obama in April, Clinton said that Israel and Arab countries must be given “deterrent backing.” She added, “Iran must know that an attack on Israel will draw a massive response.”

Clinton also proposed that the American nuclear umbrella be extended to other countries in the region, like Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States, if they agree to relinquish their own nuclear ambitions.

First of all, where’s the logic behind the argument that the United States needs to get involved in a nuclear war because someone attacked Tel Aviv ? Do we really want to be in a situation where we’re obligated to defend cities half way around the world with the same vigilance that we defend New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles ? Personally, I don’t think so.

Second, don’t the Israelis have nuclear weapons of their own ? If mutual assured destruction would indeed work against nation’s like Iran, then the Israelis clearly have the capability of delivering a sufficiently destructive response to deter their enemies from launching a nuclear attack. If Iran wouldn’t be deterred by the threat of retaliatory destruction, then it really doesn’t matter whether those weapons were launched from the Negev Desert or North Dakota.

This is a bad idea.

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