A Reason The Race Should Continue: Debating "Umbrella of Deterrence"

By Big Tent Democrat

Speaking for me only

Hillary Clinton's "Umbrella of deterrence" proposal provides a compelling substantive issue that should be discussed in a continuing campaign. I think it is an excellent proposal. Noam Scheiber wrote:

Her answers [in the Olbermann interview]on the policy questions were pretty lucid and authoritative--particularly on the Middle East "nuclear umbrella" idea, which sounds a little crazy when you first hear about it, but which she convinced me was an anti-proliferation proposal.

Predictably, the A-List Obama blogs dwelled on inanities, ironic after these same blogs ripped ABC for just that type of nonsense. For the record, we have a detailed statement from Hillary Clinton on the issue:

Well what we were talking about was the potential for a nuclear attack by Iran, if Iran does achieve what appears to be it's 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 can 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 looking 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 becoming a nuclear power, but were they to become so, 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 bullied into submission by Iran because they were a nuclear power, avoid that fate by creating this new security umbrella."

Intelligent people and intelligent blogs would look forward to discussing this substantive and important issue. Others, not so much.

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    Most Journalists... (5.00 / 4) (#1)
    by Salo on Tue Apr 22, 2008 at 12:06:11 PM EST
    ...couldn't give a defintion of Collective Security--let alone a defintion of irony.

    The narrative on the Obama blogs (5.00 / 3) (#2)
    by andgarden on Tue Apr 22, 2008 at 12:08:28 PM EST
    is that Hillary (and btw, wwtsbq?) is promising to nuke Iran.

    I love our level of discourse.

    Obama has the real (5.00 / 1) (#5)
    by MarkL on Tue Apr 22, 2008 at 12:10:34 PM EST
    Dr. Strangelove advising him---Dr. B.

    After Fahrenheit 9/11 (5.00 / 1) (#9)
    by madamab on Tue Apr 22, 2008 at 12:14:31 PM EST
    Rumsfeld will forever be Dr. Strangelove to me.

    I'll never forget his creepy pleasure when describing the "surgical strike capabilities" of our new missiles.



    He completely creeped me out (5.00 / 1) (#17)
    by Salo on Tue Apr 22, 2008 at 12:21:54 PM EST
    in his first press conference.

    He noted how the Germans in ww2 had only mechanized a 10th of their military and the rest were horse drawn.  I thought...he knows just a little bit too much about the subject of Wehrmacht logistics.


    Dr. Strangelove was making fun of E. Teller (none / 0) (#20)
    by Prabhata on Tue Apr 22, 2008 at 12:25:30 PM EST
    That's my understanding.  Teller would talk about destruction of with mega bombs in purely academic terms, without thought of the significance of the destruction.

    I thought it was partly a parody of (none / 0) (#39)
    by MarkL on Tue Apr 22, 2008 at 12:38:36 PM EST
    Kissinger as well (IIRC, he was already well known at that time).

    Werner Von Braun (none / 0) (#50)
    by Salo on Tue Apr 22, 2008 at 12:47:44 PM EST
    Kissenger was a jewish refugee. Strangelove was a former Nazi.

    Dr. Strangelove was not a parody of Kissinger (none / 0) (#79)
    by Prabhata on Tue Apr 22, 2008 at 01:41:37 PM EST
    The Dr. was a scientist, like Teller.  Maybe the character was a composite of many people.  Teller loved A-bombs and became very critical of Oppenhimer because Oppenheimer had qualms about the destructive nature of A-bombs

    Jurgen Teller? (none / 0) (#83)
    by Salo on Tue Apr 22, 2008 at 01:47:59 PM EST
    The Teller Mine designer?

    Okay that's excellent writing if he's the reference.

    Mine Shaft Defecit!


    Only if you are a german major.


    Well, the Kissinger theory is popular: (none / 0) (#101)
    by MarkL on Tue Apr 22, 2008 at 02:19:48 PM EST
    Let's just hope he doesn't also have (none / 0) (#103)
    by litigatormom on Tue Apr 22, 2008 at 02:24:03 PM EST
    General Jack D. Ripper (with his obssession with his "precious bodily fluids") advising him!

    Axelrod was on Morning Joe (5.00 / 1) (#22)
    by felizarte on Tue Apr 22, 2008 at 12:26:06 PM EST
    and characterized Hillary's proposal as being "bellicose" I remember the word well because he kept repeating it.

    Tellingly (5.00 / 1) (#26)
    by BDB on Tue Apr 22, 2008 at 12:27:44 PM EST
    Bellicose goes more to how she phrased it, than what she said.  

    If the only thing Obama disagrees with is her use of the word "obliterate" then he doesn't disagree.  Axelrod is just trying to stoke the more rabid fan base that doesn't understand the issue so that Clinton gets painted as a war monger.

    Stay classy, David.


    Sigh (5.00 / 1) (#94)
    by litigatormom on Tue Apr 22, 2008 at 02:00:46 PM EST
    Does Axelrod think there's a way of nuking Iran that wouldn't result in obliteration?

    Is it the use of the word "obliteration" that made Clinton's statement "bellicose," or is it just the fact that she's a GIRL?


    bellicose (none / 0) (#29)
    by Stellaaa on Tue Apr 22, 2008 at 12:30:48 PM EST
    favoring or inclined to start quarrels or wars

    Do the Obama bloggers (none / 0) (#33)
    by madamab on Tue Apr 22, 2008 at 12:32:47 PM EST
    know what that word means?

    They seem to have the reading comprehension of a half-bright eighth-grader.


    You misspelled ... (5.00 / 1) (#52)
    by Robot Porter on Tue Apr 22, 2008 at 12:49:24 PM EST

    The problem goes deeper. (none / 0) (#40)
    by Salo on Tue Apr 22, 2008 at 12:38:39 PM EST
    I don't really think Obama or Clinton will be in a position to roll up the occupation or stop three or four Islamic states from melting down in to civil war and border warfare.

    So you've got a candidacy predicated on delivering an impossible peace (the core of the Obama supporters know peace will be unobtainable)--and a realist who stymied by her own leftwing form being realistic.


    I think HRC is pretty realistic. (5.00 / 2) (#43)
    by madamab on Tue Apr 22, 2008 at 12:42:17 PM EST
    She will begin withdrawing troops, but she's already said that the only way we can guarantee that things get worse is if we stay in Iraq.

    She doesn't guarantee that they won't get worse after we leave.

    Honestly, I don't understand why anyone would want to fix Dubya's mess. The next four years are going to be rough no matter who's President.


    That's why we need two presidents (none / 0) (#80)
    by Prabhata on Tue Apr 22, 2008 at 01:43:36 PM EST
    I'm sure alist threads are turning Anti-Semitic (none / 0) (#45)
    by blogtopus on Tue Apr 22, 2008 at 12:43:26 PM EST
    at this point, but people who can't tell the difference between Zionism and a strong safety net in the Middle East. It will be fun to watch those blogs fracture on this line.

    Do you think Hillary is attracting jewish voters with this, whether it was her intention or not?


    "BY people" (none / 0) (#46)
    by blogtopus on Tue Apr 22, 2008 at 12:44:27 PM EST
    not 'but people'. sorry!

    Although, it would be interesting to see a thread with the term 'butt people' at some point on TL.


    I have a feeling she might (none / 0) (#53)
    by madamab on Tue Apr 22, 2008 at 12:50:15 PM EST
    although I'm not sure either candidate has a really strong Jewish following.

    Lieberman supports McCain (none / 0) (#85)
    by Prabhata on Tue Apr 22, 2008 at 01:49:25 PM EST
    The protect Israel wing wants McCain.  Not all Jewish people in the US agree with Israel policies.

    At least in NY (none / 0) (#95)
    by litigatormom on Tue Apr 22, 2008 at 02:02:01 PM EST
    Clinton has very strong Jewish support.

    i think this is such a pragmatic proposal (none / 0) (#62)
    by jeffinalabama on Tue Apr 22, 2008 at 01:01:39 PM EST
    that it should attract Arab and Jewish voters. It is the kind of proposal that aids the region. Without a doubt we'll see plenty of the "but Israel HAS nuclear weapons..." responses. Probably plenty of US stay home or get out replies as well.

    But this proposal is, quite simply, an excellent idea.

    for some reason, i recall something along these lines being discussed 6-7 years ago. Might have been a conference, but I thought it was the government, or a discussion of already-existing policy.

    this does beat pre-emptive war, and builds in diplomacy.


    yes, but more important Israel supporters (none / 0) (#81)
    by Prabhata on Tue Apr 22, 2008 at 01:46:56 PM EST
    within the Democratic Party, and independents (religious right)  They are very important to win elections.  It's a fact that some of us who want a more even policy must live with.

    Hillary is so smart - her ideas/policies are... (5.00 / 3) (#3)
    by Shainzona on Tue Apr 22, 2008 at 12:09:13 PM EST
    so detailed that IF a person listens (versus having a knee-jerk reaction) she will convince you that she has thought it through, is in command of the subject and will be able to deliver when given the chance.

    She is strong in so many ways.  Wow!

    Oh yes, PLEASE let's debate it. (5.00 / 1) (#4)
    by madamab on Tue Apr 22, 2008 at 12:10:11 PM EST
    If people disagree, I'd like to hear substantive reasons why. Perhaps we can improve upon the idea.

    Wouldn't that be unifying?

    I must admit that at first, I thought HRC was being crazy hawkish in the debate with that Iran answer. But then I realized she was talking about negotation and diplomacy. It was stunning how brilliant she was about it.

    Dumbya and his whacked-out neocons have dumbed down the discourse to a ridiculous degree. We should elevate it to PROVE we are the party of national security.

    Devil's advocate (none / 0) (#61)
    by Manuel on Tue Apr 22, 2008 at 01:01:30 PM EST
    Deterrence assumes equally rational people on both sides.  There is some reason to believe that actors such as the current regime in Iran, the Taliban, the former regime in Iraq, North Korea, etc. won't act in a rational way (Their logic might be different from ours).  In a way the AUMF vote was a failed attempt at deterrence (of course Bush had a lot to do with that failure).
    The moral argument against this approach is also strong.  Would we really be willing to kill millions of innocent people for the actions of a few madmen?  Do we think that the death penalty really works as a deterrent?  Why would it work in this bigger context?
    An alternative to this approach could consist of umbrella organizations adopting the following plan.
    *    Improved counter intelligence.
    *    Limited "pre emptive" operations (e.g. Israeli air strikes on Iran from a few years ago).
    *    Limited in kind response to an actual attack.
    *    Hold individual leaders (including terrorists) responsible.  There was a time when we could have acted in a timely way against OBL.  Unfortunately, we failed to act.
    It is great that we are getting away from preemptive war but there is still a lot of room for preemptive actions and proportional response.

    Expect Obama to have (5.00 / 4) (#7)
    by myiq2xu on Tue Apr 22, 2008 at 12:13:22 PM EST
    a similar proposal soon.

    His aides are rewriting Hillary's idea using a thesaurus right now.

    Certainly within the week! (5.00 / 1) (#14)
    by Shainzona on Tue Apr 22, 2008 at 12:18:31 PM EST
    why don't Obama supporters know this? (5.00 / 1) (#35)
    by Josey on Tue Apr 22, 2008 at 12:35:53 PM EST
    >>>>Obama has made statements in the past about this type of collective security, as well as the need for stronger deterrence policy in regards to rogue overnationalistic nations.

    I doubt he was as specific (5.00 / 1) (#37)
    by madamab on Tue Apr 22, 2008 at 12:37:21 PM EST
    as Hillary. ;-)

    Agreed (none / 0) (#18)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Tue Apr 22, 2008 at 12:23:18 PM EST
    Why are his plans vague? (none / 0) (#36)
    by myiq2xu on Tue Apr 22, 2008 at 12:37:02 PM EST
    He makes vague proposals on many issues, but I can't recall a single issue where he was first out of the gate with a detailed policy on anything.

    Everybody is for improving the economy, creating new jobs, national security, etc., and everyone is against waste, fraud and abuse.

    If Obama wants to be President, he needs to offer more than "hope" and "change."


    Why vague? (5.00 / 1) (#51)
    by felizarte on Tue Apr 22, 2008 at 12:48:55 PM EST
    Perhaps because he did not really come up with the idea; his advisers did and he only got to the point of understanding the general gist of it; therefore he can't go into specifics.

    While Clinton has had years of thinking about this in the Whitehouse when her husband was confronted with the situation and as a member for eight years of the Armed Services Senate Committee.  She used her time well to really bone up on national seurity matters and it shows.


    I disagree. (5.00 / 2) (#63)
    by Radix on Tue Apr 22, 2008 at 01:02:46 PM EST
    Obama vagueness is a calculated political strategy. If you offer concrete plans, then those plans can be found to have fault within them. These faults, or points of disagreement, then can be used against you. By remaining vague he can argue, deflect, in any direction he likes.

    Because there are no facts, there is no truth, Just data to be manipulated

    Don Henley-The Garden of Allah


    Phone booth (none / 0) (#138)
    by kayla on Tue Apr 22, 2008 at 04:10:06 PM EST
    A lot of people on this site keep saying that Obama is dumb, or Bush like, or a copy cat.  He's a terrible debator, yeah, so it's hard to believe he has any understanding of anything important.  But I think his vagueness is just a political strategy.  His entire politcal career is based on this strategy.  I do believe in the phone-booth theory to some extent.

    LOL (none / 0) (#92)
    by AnninCA on Tue Apr 22, 2008 at 01:59:43 PM EST
    Yes, it will be worded the same too.

    She has led him by the nose throughout the campaign.  



    Talk is cheap (5.00 / 1) (#10)
    by Steve M on Tue Apr 22, 2008 at 12:16:18 PM EST
    Preemptive wars are expensive.

    I kinda like Hillary's thrifty suggestion.

    It's useful to have (none / 0) (#12)
    by andgarden on Tue Apr 22, 2008 at 12:17:24 PM EST
    the ability to destroy the world in your n arsenal.

    Debate (5.00 / 3) (#11)
    by Grey on Tue Apr 22, 2008 at 12:16:34 PM EST
    It's a sophisticated argument, but not a complicated one; the response from some of the "A-list" bogs shows a remarkable lack of comprehension.  It would be stunning, were it not for the CDS that seems to be afflicting them.

    This is a progressive foreign policy, not a bomb-throwing one; it's bold, it's compelling, it's right on the money as far as deterrence goes, it could anticipate all kinds of arms races, and the debate is on what kind of a lunatic hawk Clinton is?


    Indeed (5.00 / 2) (#13)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Tue Apr 22, 2008 at 12:18:04 PM EST
    As Josh Marshall promptly demonstrates.

    BTD, you mentioned a problem with (none / 0) (#23)
    by MarkL on Tue Apr 22, 2008 at 12:26:14 PM EST
    saying that Israel would do the job last night, IIRC.
    Can you remind me what you said?

    I don't think it's comprehension (5.00 / 1) (#66)
    by dws3665 on Tue Apr 22, 2008 at 01:10:48 PM EST
    These folks ("A list" Obama bloggers) are NOT stupid people. I don't for one second believe that they do not or cannot understand Hillary's position on this or the theory of deterrence.

    They are, in a nutshell, in the tank. So in the tank that they no longer listen to criticism or refutations of their nonsense.

    It has nothing to do with intellect, but with integrity, imho.


    Yes (none / 0) (#78)
    by CognitiveDissonance on Tue Apr 22, 2008 at 01:41:28 PM EST
    I'll be interested to see how many of their old posts they'll conveniently delete after this election is all over, thinking that we won't remember. I'll remember. And their sites will still be dead to me.

    Pot meet kettle (none / 0) (#104)
    by MileHi Hawkeye on Tue Apr 22, 2008 at 02:25:07 PM EST
    not sure what you are referring to (none / 0) (#130)
    by dws3665 on Tue Apr 22, 2008 at 03:31:47 PM EST
    Is this a criticism of my post or of pro-Clinton bloggers' integrity? Either way, it seems to me you have to make a case, not just quote an aphorism. At the pro-Clinton blogs I frequent, I read several critical posts about her strategy, campaign tactics, and some of her positions. Would that the Obamaphiles among the blogosphere had the same level of at least semi-objectivity.

    Tanked? (none / 0) (#108)
    by AnninCA on Tue Apr 22, 2008 at 02:43:03 PM EST
    I'm in the tank for Hilly, and I still laughed out loud about how she's going to investigate the oil companies.  LOL*

    That was downright cute.

    I can both admire her and also note to myself:  She IS a politician.                


    Anything she says (none / 0) (#105)
    by litigatormom on Tue Apr 22, 2008 at 02:31:28 PM EST
    that demonstrates her willingness to be tough and smart on foreign policy is going to be read as "bellicose" because that's the preferred narrative on the Blogs That Must Not Be Named.

    Nothing she says, no matter how worthy of debate (let alone adoption) matters to the A listers because of her IWR vote. Let's forget who has thought more deeply, with more understanding and knowledge, about how to get the frak out of Iraq (how's that for a slogan?). Let's forget about how who has thought most deeply, with more understanding and knowledge, about how to deal with the Middle East going forward? Let's keep talking about the IWR. Forever and ever and ever. Because you don't need vision to have that discussion. Just an endless loop.


    You Want To Discuss Policy, BTD? (5.00 / 2) (#15)
    by BDB on Tue Apr 22, 2008 at 12:18:51 PM EST
    Crazy talk.

    In this regard, many of the blogs are no different than the mainstream media.  It's not that ABC focused on diversions during the debate, it's that they focused on diversions that were harmful to Obama.  When it was BS about Trina Bachtel or even the sniper crap, they were only too happy to discuss it.  Do you think they'll denounce Obama for this? Yeah, neither do I.

    One of the most depressing features of this campaign is the eagerness with which so many "progressive" bloggers have adopted the same standards as the Mainstream Media.    

    The (5.00 / 1) (#19)
    by sas on Tue Apr 22, 2008 at 12:24:37 PM EST
    progressive bloggers are not progressive at all.

    They are just the left wing version of Limbaugh et al.

    They would not be afraid of feminism if they were really progressive.


    I don't think this is bold (5.00 / 1) (#21)
    by Edgar08 on Tue Apr 22, 2008 at 12:25:52 PM EST
    I think it just makes sense.

    If it's bold it's only because we now live in a political environment (an environment supported by "progressive" blogs) where what makes sense must be considered bold.

    It comes as no surprise to me.  To me this is ground that was staked out by Clinton and her FP advisors long ago.

    Team Obama wants to complain about people not talking about substantive issues, but that's only as far as that goes.

    Start talking about a substantive issue, and it's all demogoguery and hysterical pontificating.

    Indeed if I listened to what Obama thought Clinton's argument was, I'd disagree with Clinton too.

    It's a good thing to embrace a critical refutation of the policy (if one exists) and ignore all the statements that begin:  "What Clinton is really saying here is..."

    Except to just point out again and again "No.  That's not what she said. Read again."

    It's bold not in its concept. (none / 0) (#67)
    by Same As It Ever Was on Tue Apr 22, 2008 at 01:11:04 PM EST
    but in its application to the Middle East.  

    Funny, I think they were at a debate (5.00 / 1) (#28)
    by ruffian on Tue Apr 22, 2008 at 12:28:29 PM EST
    the other night when she talked about this exact policy.  Too bad Stephanapolous and Gibson thought they were there for something else.  I really expected one of them to ask Obama what he thought about what she said.  Anyone have a transcript handy to see what they talked about next?

    One thing I am grateful for is that now that it is on the record again the Obama boyz have no excuse to pretend they misunderstood her at the debate.  She could not have been clearer.

    Priceless - I love the google (5.00 / 3) (#30)
    by ruffian on Tue Apr 22, 2008 at 12:31:22 PM EST
    From the debate:

    SENATOR CLINTON: Well, in fact, George, I think that we should be looking to create an umbrella of deterrence that goes much further than just Israel. Of course I would make it clear to the Iranians that an attack on Israel would incur massive retaliation from the United States, but I would do the same with other countries in the     region.

    You know, we are at a very dangerous point with Iran. The Bush policy has failed. Iran has not been deterred. They continue to try to not only obtain the fissile material for nuclear weapons but they     are intent upon and using their efforts to intimidate the region and to have their way when it comes to the support of terrorism in Lebanon and elsewhere.

    And I think that this is an opportunity, with skillful diplomacy, for the United States to go to the region and enlist the region in a security agreement vis-a-vis Iran. It would give us three tools we don't now have.

    Number one, we've got to begin diplomatic engagement with Iran, and we want the region and the world to understand how serious we are about it. And I would begin those discussions at a low level. I certainly would not meet with Ahmadinejad, because even again today he made light of 9/11 and said he's not even sure it happened and that people actually died. He's not someone who would have an opportunity to meet with me in the White House. But I would have a diplomatic process that would engage him.

    And secondly, we've got to deter other countries 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.

    And finally we cannot permit Iran to become a nuclear weapons power. And this administration has failed in our efforts to convince     the rest of the world that that is a danger, not only to us and not just to Israel but to the region and beyond.

    Therefore we have got to have this process that reaches out,     beyond even who we would put under the security umbrella, to get the rest of the world on our side to try to impose the kind of sanctions and diplomatic efforts that might prevent this from occurring.

    MR. STEPHANOPOULOS: Let me turn to the economy. That is the number one issue on Americans' minds right now.

    Yesterday, Senator McCain singled that the number one issue, in     the general election campaign on the economy, is going to be taxes.     And he says that both of you are going to raise taxes, not just on the wealthy but on everyone.


    Obama camp is bitter about losing in PA (none / 0) (#89)
    by Prabhata on Tue Apr 22, 2008 at 01:54:27 PM EST
    and now clings to the word "obliterate".

    The Anti-Nato Progressives (5.00 / 1) (#32)
    by blogtopus on Tue Apr 22, 2008 at 12:32:27 PM EST
    Is that basically what we are seeing in the A-Listers nowadays?

    it's that whole 'libertarian progressive' (5.00 / 1) (#42)
    by jeffinalabama on Tue Apr 22, 2008 at 12:42:09 PM EST

    Not a zero sum game (5.00 / 2) (#58)
    by SpinDoctor on Tue Apr 22, 2008 at 12:55:50 PM EST
    Intelligent people and intelligent blogs would look forward to discussing this substantive and important issue. Others, not so much.

    Like the post about waffles from last night on this site?

    Also, while I do agree that this is a discussion worth having, it does not have to be at the expense of our chances in the November election.  The longer this race drags on, the greater the chance the Republicans have of holding the White House in my opinion.  You do not need to look beyond the poll that was released today showing that Hilary's negatives, in New York, are at historic highs and even exceed Obama's from the Senator's home state. The conversation should occur, but there is no reason it needs to take place during an extended primary season that is no longer serving our Party's best interests.

    Imagine how much more productive if all the vitriol on this site, currently reserved for Senator Obama, was directed not at a fellow Democrat, but at John McCain.


    I did not write that post (none / 0) (#60)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Tue Apr 22, 2008 at 12:58:58 PM EST
    but I also think you can discuss waffles AND nuclear deterrence issues.

    Are you saying we can't?


    Well (none / 0) (#72)
    by SpinDoctor on Tue Apr 22, 2008 at 01:25:40 PM EST
    I'd suggest eating the waffles while debating the issue of deterrence.  I know you did not write that post Armando and did not mean to suggest that you did.  My overarching point was that having a debate on foreign policy issues is not a reason to extend what is becoming a very bitter and divisive primary season.  Sadly, the partisanship we are seeing today between supporters of the Democratic candidates ought to be reserved for McCain, not a fellow Democrat.  Scoring points on "gotcha" moments has done nothing but drive up the negatives of our candidates while giving McCain a free-ride and headstart on creating his own fall narrative.

    It is not decisive reason (none / 0) (#76)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Tue Apr 22, 2008 at 01:36:34 PM EST
    But it is a reason.

    I disagree (none / 0) (#107)
    by litigatormom on Tue Apr 22, 2008 at 02:38:20 PM EST
    Even assuming that Obama is the ultimate nominee, he hasn't had to be very specific about much of anything, let alone on foreign policy and security.  John McShame is going to enjoy a totally undeserved advantage in the GE on national security -- as several in the MSM explained their failure to make much of McShame's confusion of Al Qaeda and Shi'ite extremists, McShame has "money in the bank" on national security.  

    Obama will be shocked to learn that he has to be specific on these issues, and that the press will stop giving him a free ride.  McShame, with the enthusiastic aid of the MSM, is going to have him for lunch on national security.  So debating those issues now is a GOOD thing for Obama. Of course, it does expose him to the risk that voters will think that Clinton is stronger in that area.  But you know, running for office = risk. Get strong on national security, or get out of the kitchen.


    They Are The Same (5.00 / 1) (#118)
    by squeaky on Tue Apr 22, 2008 at 03:02:27 PM EST
    Obama and Clinton, that is. In fact Obama was roundly criticized by Hillary and commenters here for being specific as regards to taking out OBL and his henchmen, given actionable intelligence, who are allegedly somewhere in Pakistan near the border of Afghanistan.

    If you want to compare their almost identical foreign policy specifics you can look at these two speeches.

    Obama at the Woodrow Wilson Center for foreign policy

    Clinton at the Council for Foreign Relations


    that post... (none / 0) (#70)
    by dws3665 on Tue Apr 22, 2008 at 01:18:12 PM EST
    was not about waffles. It was about campaign philosophy, candidates' availability to the media, and the disconnect between a campaign's public posing and the behavior of the candidate.

    That said, even if it were about waffles ... so?


    Massive Retaliation/Nuclear War (5.00 / 2) (#114)
    by Citizen Rat on Tue Apr 22, 2008 at 02:55:59 PM EST
    Has historically been a right wing extremist Panacea. IT was Democrats (at least some of them) and even moderate Republicans who understood the value of diplomacy.

    This is what happens when you guy into the prevailing right wing ethos and framing of the conflict in the ME. You believe that the US has the right and responsibility to engage in nuclear war, or threaten nuclear war to achieve strategic objectives over relatively weak Semi-Peripheral states.

    If you think the reason to keep the campaign going is so we can debate the use of nuclear weapons in the ME then I think there is a party tailor made for you.

    It's called the Republican Party, or alternatively, there is an organization called the Democratic Leadership Council, stacked with corporate hacks and right wing defense gurus.

    So sure-if you come from the DLC wing of the party and you think the Democratic path to victory is through aping Republicans, then of coruse we should keep the race going.

    I understand there are people in the Democratic Party who are pro-DLC.

    What I don't understand is how supposedly left/liberal to liberal and centrist blogs like Talk Left have gotten so caught up in the Hillary campaign that they will swallow the most bizarre right wing talking point.

    When did Obama rule nuclear retaliation? (none / 0) (#119)
    by Radix on Tue Apr 22, 2008 at 03:06:04 PM EST
    Remember, "nothing is off the table".

    Because there are no facts, there is no truth, Just data to be manipulated

    Don Henley-The Garden of Allah


    When did Obama rule out nuclear retaliation? (none / 0) (#121)
    by Radix on Tue Apr 22, 2008 at 03:06:59 PM EST
    Remember, "nothing is off the table".

    Because there are no facts, there is no truth, Just data to be manipulated

    Don Henley-The Garden of Allah


    Really? (none / 0) (#124)
    by Steve M on Tue Apr 22, 2008 at 03:15:43 PM EST
    So if Iran were to nuke Israel, you think the mainstream Democratic position is that we would respond with diplomacy?

    Of course we would retaliate massively against such an unthinkable act.  There is a bipartisan consensus on this whether you like it or not.


    Historically Not true (none / 0) (#127)
    by JohnS on Tue Apr 22, 2008 at 03:23:53 PM EST
    MAD was not a"right wing extremist Panacea." It came into being during the Eisenhower Admin in response to the USSR going nuclear and continued to be official U.S. policy through successive administrations, both Democrat and Republican, until the end of the Cold War.

    I have yet to see a responsible, peaceful alternative solution from critics of Clinton's proposal.

    Nonsense about the DLC or whatever means nothing to people in authority positions in the Israeli military and gov't who are panicked by the possibility of a devastating Iranian nuclear first strike.

    How would you reassure the Israelis that a nuclearized Iran won't destroy them?  How will you convince Israel that preemptively attacking Iran now isn't the best solution to this problem.

    And again, Arab states are also panicking at the thought of a nucllearized Iran. How do you propose to them not to go nuclear in response?


    BTD, do you think she can prove (none / 0) (#6)
    by MarkL on Tue Apr 22, 2008 at 12:11:28 PM EST
    Adlai Stevenson wrong?
    With proposals like this, she really could get the thinking man's vote, IMO.

    Cultural Aspect (none / 0) (#25)
    by Stellaaa on Tue Apr 22, 2008 at 12:27:13 PM EST
    The traditional perspective is that "these people" are not like us.  They would risk having their people attacked cause they are fanatics.  This is bunk.  What Hillary is saying makes sense to me.  Of course she does not say she will not try to stop them or do diplomacy but she is not saying that if they get nuclear weapons we bomb them.  It seems that the Bush mindset of if they get it we bomb is not what she is saying.  

    A very serious and thoughtful argument (none / 0) (#31)
    by faux facsimile on Tue Apr 22, 2008 at 12:32:08 PM EST
    In order to prevent a nuclear arms race in the ME, Clinton says we must threaten to 'massively retaliate' against any aggressor. Except of course, if that aggressor is the only state there currently with nuclear weapons. And naturally those weapons are the primary reason why there's a potential for a nuclear arms race in the first place.

    Talk about getting to the root of the problem.

    Moreover, I fail to see why our threats will impress the Iranians more than those that the Israelis have already made. Israel's got 200+ nukes pointed at Tehran, and between history and the proclamations of the Israeli prime minister, there's not a lot of ambiguity as to what would happen should Iran attack. Will flattening Tehran 6 times over instead of 5 really change the calculation of the mullahs?

    In the scenario she was asked about (5.00 / 2) (#34)
    by madamab on Tue Apr 22, 2008 at 12:34:54 PM EST
    a nuclear Iran was the aggressor, not Israel.

    It will change their calculation (none / 0) (#49)
    by badger on Tue Apr 22, 2008 at 12:47:41 PM EST
    in several ways. First, if they calculate that they can take out most or all of Israel's nuclear capability with their own first strike, they still have to factor in that one Trident sub sitting in the Straits of Hormuz can obiliterate them before the first missile hits Tel Aviv. Without that additional deterrent they can convince themselves that a nuclear exchange is winnable.

    Second, when they calculate that they can nuke Iraq or Saudi Arabia or anyone else they don't like, because none of those states have nukes, they again have to factor in the US response.

    Maybe in 50 years Iran will have a credible nuclear threat to the US (and maybe not). But at that point, all they've done is spent trillions of dollars to achieve parity, not an advantage. In the meantime, they have no way to conclude that a nuclear attack is winnable or in their interests.


    I part ways with BTD on this one. (none / 0) (#38)
    by sweetthings on Tue Apr 22, 2008 at 12:37:43 PM EST
    I like Hillary, but I view this statement the same way I view her support for the McCain Gas Tax cut...a bit of political pandering that hopefully has no chance of become reality...because it would be disastrous if it did.

    There's absolutely no need to threaten to nuke Iran for going after Israel...Israel has plenty of her own nukes, and hasn't exactly been shy about threatening to use them. All statements like this do is reduce our ability to play power-broker in the Middle East, because our status as a neutral party is reduced even lower than it would otherwise be. It doesn't exactly help with our NATO allies either...Israel is about the last cause in the Middle East any of them want to be associated with.

    It also sets us up for another fight we can't possibly win: namely, keeping Saudi Arabia from getting nukes when and if Iran does. News Flash: Saudi Arabia isn't entirely stupid. They know that while the American government likes them, this opinion isn't shared by the American people. No amount of assurances by an American president that SA is under our nuclear umbrella is going to make SA feel any better if Iran has nukes...and rightfully so. The only thing that will make them feel better is a nuclear stockpile of their very own, and with their ever-increasing amounts of petro-cash, they'll be more than able to afford one.

    I know why Hillary's doing this, and I don't blame her. She can't very well out-Obama Obama on the dove side, so she has no choice but to out-McCain McCain on the hawk angle. But let's not confuse political necessity with sound policy. There's a reason Wolfson keeps trying to bring this back down to Earth. Hillary's statement isn't progressive, it isn't smart, and it isn't even realistic. Fortunately, I don't think it has any chance of becoming reality, even if Hillary wins. She'll pander when she has to, (and all politicians do) but she's far too smart to actually buy any of this.

    If Iran strikes Israel's nuclear facilities, (none / 0) (#41)
    by madamab on Tue Apr 22, 2008 at 12:39:50 PM EST
    how will Israel retaliate?

    Just wondering.


    Israel has nukes on subs. (5.00 / 1) (#44)
    by MarkL on Tue Apr 22, 2008 at 12:42:50 PM EST
    yes they have a second strike capability. (none / 0) (#48)
    by Salo on Tue Apr 22, 2008 at 12:45:36 PM EST
    I have no idea. (none / 0) (#57)
    by sweetthings on Tue Apr 22, 2008 at 12:55:14 PM EST
    I also have no idea what would happen if Martian death rays started raining down on Manhattan. Fortunately, I think both scenarios are fairly unlikely.

    Israel is a regional super-power, supplied with the very best arms and ammunition our defense industry can manufacture. Iran is stuck using Russian gear, much of it 10-20 years out of date. If Iran tries a conventional strike on Israel, they're going to get their butt handed to them hardcore, without Israel needing any help from us...and Iran knows it. (Heck, the two nations aren't exactly close together. It's difficult for Israel to strike Iran's facilities without violating all kinds of airspace, and they have much, MUCH better planes than Iran does.)

    That leaves a nuclear strike. But again, Israel has her own nukes, and hasn't exactly been shy about making it clear it's willing to use them. If you believe in MAD, as Clinton obviously does, then there's absolutely no need for the US to go spouting off about how it'll nuke dem Iranians good. In fact, it's downright counterproductive. If the Iranians really are crazy, then us piling on doesn't accomplish anything, and if they aren't it draws all kind of lines in the sand that don't need to be there.


    But this specifically isn't about MAD. (5.00 / 1) (#75)
    by jeffinalabama on Tue Apr 22, 2008 at 01:35:49 PM EST
    This is about lowering the benefits from a first strike, or about lowering the benefits while raising the costs for contiued nuclear proliferation. i think we have here an artful method for engaging in aggressive diplomacy. The precondition is "no nuclear attack." this ought to lower the desire for proliferation among all of the actors in the area. I think we can expect rational action from Iran in terms of this.

    Except it doesn't. (none / 0) (#86)
    by sweetthings on Tue Apr 22, 2008 at 01:49:37 PM EST
    There are no benefits to a first strike from Iran, even if we do nothing. Israel's second-strike capability is not in doubt. If Iran nukes Israel, Tehran will be glass, even if the US does nothing at all. You can only die once. Threatening to kill them after their dead adds rhetorical heat, not strategic interest.

    And the only way you're going to 'raise the costs' for continued defiance from Iran is to attack them outright. We're already throwing everything under the table that we possibly can...and, for better or worse, it's not doing much of anything. Iran is riding high on $118 a barrel oil...and there's really nothing we can do to counter that outside of actually force, which of course we're in no position to do, thanks to our previous Mesopotamian adventure. Iran will get nukes, or she will not, but there's really very little we can do to affect that outcome.

    And given that, it makes sense to keep the ultimatums to a minimum. Particularly when they're completely unnecessary.


    Heh (none / 0) (#113)
    by Steve M on Tue Apr 22, 2008 at 02:55:24 PM EST
    So which politician will respond to that question by saying "We wouldn't need to do anything in that event, Israel can take care of itself?"  His name surely isn't Barack Obama.  I doubt you can find me a single mainstream candidate who would hedge on the question of retaliation.

    Nobody would say 'Let Israel handle it.' (none / 0) (#125)
    by sweetthings on Tue Apr 22, 2008 at 03:16:10 PM EST
    But coming out and saying 'Damn straight we'll nuke Iran on behalf of Israel.' is a bit much. Even if you think we SHOULD be playing the role of Avenging Angel of the Middle East, this kind of rhetoric plays very poorly with our NATO allies. No point in raising the temperature higher than it has to be.

    Like I said, I like Hillary, so I'm filing this under 'pander' material.


    Well (none / 0) (#135)
    by Steve M on Tue Apr 22, 2008 at 03:58:48 PM EST
    Hillary has been quite clear that she is serious about the "umbrella of deterrence" concept and that it doesn't just apply to Israel.  If you disagree, that might be a reason to vote against her, but it's clearly a substantive position.

    Substantive isn't a replacement for smart. (none / 0) (#137)
    by sweetthings on Tue Apr 22, 2008 at 04:08:23 PM EST
    One of Hillary's biggest strengths over Obama is her foreign policy experience. Which makes this kind of ridiculous rhetoric so surprising. There's a reason Wolfson keeps coming out and saying 'She didn't REALLY mean that...'

    For all our sake, I hope Wolfson's right.


    Neutrality... (none / 0) (#47)
    by Salo on Tue Apr 22, 2008 at 12:44:56 PM EST
    ...in 1940 didn't broker much between France and Germany. honest broker doesn't work.

    It would be better, if Israel were officially brought under the strategic wing of a formal alliance with the US and maybe the UK. Draw a line in the sand.

    And I think Israel should unilaterally evacuate the west bank and we in the east and west should have the UN set up an offcially recognized Palestinian state on the west bank.

    who would go after Israel with an offcial guarentee of military retaliation from the US and the UK if Isreal were conventionally or by nuclear weapons?


    I disagree (none / 0) (#54)
    by BarnBabe on Tue Apr 22, 2008 at 12:51:33 PM EST
    You have a bunch of guys in DC right now that would prefer to just get the Iran thing done now. Just bomb it away.  In fact, there is 8 plus months that they could still do that. So in the GE, her plan would be don't bomb until provoked but if provoked, you are going to get it big time. No questions asked.It is the type of thing that we use every day. If you do something wrong, there is a consequence. Up against McCain it will be, warhawk agression against diplomatic deterence. Which would most people prefer?

    What's your alternative? (none / 0) (#59)
    by badger on Tue Apr 22, 2008 at 12:58:49 PM EST
    Do you want to starve Iranian civilians and children with sanctions, do you prefer to "shock and awe" them to death prior to a massive US invasion, or should we just allow nuclear proliferation across the Middle East and damn the consequences? The UN approach doesn't seem to be working too well either.

    We've already tried the first two in Iraq, and that didn't turn out so well.

    Maybe you have some other approach?


    Clinton said gas tax holiday only if there is (none / 0) (#84)
    by jawbone on Tue Apr 22, 2008 at 01:48:12 PM EST
    alternate financing of infrastructure needs, construction, etc., and suggested an excess profits tax.

    Which I love the sound of.

    The oil companies have a percentage profit/cost structure. Which means that the higher the costs are, the higher the amount of profit.

    Big Oil could make a decent profit with plenty of room for R&D with a, say, parameter of profit.  The percentage thing gives them no incentive whatsoever to cut costs. It's cost plus.


    The most charitable way to interpret that... (none / 0) (#90)
    by sweetthings on Tue Apr 22, 2008 at 01:55:35 PM EST
    Is that Hillary doesn't know beans about economics.

    We're already using every drop of gasoline that's being refined anywhere in the vicinity of our country. There is no slack in the supply chain. Which means that if you remove the gas tax, refineries are going to have to raise the prices right back to where they are now to prevent shortages. So it's not like anyone would actually feel any relief at the pump.

    I can't honestly believe that Hillary doesn't know that, so I've convinced myself that she does know that, and is just doing the sort of pandering that all politicians occasionally have to indulge in.


    i think (none / 0) (#110)
    by Molly Pitcher on Tue Apr 22, 2008 at 02:47:15 PM EST
    there is some sizable slack in the chain--the oil reserve.  There has already been talk that it might be wise to stop stashing gas while prices are so high.

    War, threats against Iran, Nigeria being a (none / 0) (#126)
    by Seth90212 on Tue Apr 22, 2008 at 03:23:16 PM EST
    basketcase, exploding consumption in China and India and the lack of refining capacity. These  things are responsible for high gas prices. The petroleum reserve is a pittance and won't have much of an impact.  Lack of refining capacity is the most acute problem. We haven't built a new refinery in this country in decades. Of those that are operating the EPA watches them like a hawk and will shut them down at the drop of a hat. Ask yourself, do you want a refinery in your backyard? Probably not. No one does. There is very little a president can do to bring down prices. But the market will embrace alternative energy sources as they become price competitive with crude.

    I don't see the policy as hawkish (none / 0) (#93)
    by Prabhata on Tue Apr 22, 2008 at 02:00:20 PM EST
    Only the obliterate part.  As I said before in a post here, Israel does not need defending.  I think Pakistan is a much bigger problem than Iran.  Pakistan already has the nukes and lots of radical organizations.

    Senator C. can always give (none / 0) (#55)
    by clio on Tue Apr 22, 2008 at 12:51:40 PM EST
    a detailed statement on any policy - usually off the top of her head.  It's, perhaps, her most attractive quality.

    I wish I thought Obama could do the same.

    She studies (none / 0) (#82)
    by TeresaInSnow2 on Tue Apr 22, 2008 at 01:47:53 PM EST
    while he's eating his waffles.

    Heh! (none / 0) (#142)
    by clio on Wed Apr 23, 2008 at 12:27:12 AM EST
    The Table (none / 0) (#56)
    by squeaky on Tue Apr 22, 2008 at 12:53:54 PM EST
    If Iraq had nukes we would not be in the mess we are in now. It is not surprising that all the talk of deterrence leaves out the fact that we have been threatening Iran for the last couple of years with a nuclear attack in the form of new fangled bunker busters.

    The bunker buster is the great neocon device that changes the rules of deterrence and nuclear war from a dooms day scenario to a practical war tool. Small nuclear bombs that only take out a block or two. IOW they are nuclear bombs that can be used for tactical strikes and are now peripherally related to  the old fashioned idea of deterrence rather than central.

    The big elephant in the room is that if Iran did obtain nukes deterrence would work because the US would not engage in a preemptive war with them, nor would Israel, and we would all be safer. The other big elephant in the room is why is it still a secret that Israel has a large nuclear arsenal, and why are they held to an entirely different standard than their neighboring states?

    Not expecting any answers to those questions, but they are key to any discussion of Nukes in the ME.

    Seems To Me (none / 0) (#65)
    by flashman on Tue Apr 22, 2008 at 01:07:24 PM EST
    that the first priority would be to incentivise halting nuclear weapon development in Iran.  As I suggested in the last thread, more carrot and less stick.

    Why Would Iran (none / 0) (#91)
    by squeaky on Tue Apr 22, 2008 at 01:59:19 PM EST
    Listen to anything BushCo had to say, considering their painfully obvious double standard. The deck is stacked and not in favor of Muslim countries. Credibility is a prerequisite for the carrot to be an appealing tool.

    They Wouldn't (none / 0) (#98)
    by flashman on Tue Apr 22, 2008 at 02:15:32 PM EST
    Actually, Iran reached out to the US, but was refuffed.  A new administration might just build the credibility needed for negotiations.

    Yes (none / 0) (#106)
    by squeaky on Tue Apr 22, 2008 at 02:32:19 PM EST
    That would change the whole equation, although the discussions Iran wants to have are not about nukes, but other things. In terms of the nuclear issue, it is just as clouded with Obama and Clinton as it is with BushCo, in that the standard line: 'Iran should not be allowed to be the only country in the region with Nukes' is obviously dishonest.  Without acknowledging that Israel, unlike Iran, has nukes and no one is making them sign the Nuclear Non Proliferation Treaty, unlike Iran, nor demanding inspections like they are doing with Iran, there can be no carrot discussion.

    The carrot would be to put on the table a mandate that Israel disarm their nuclear arsenal, sign the Nuclear Nonproliferation treaty and submit to IAEA inspections.


    I Doubt The Pres. Could Make That Promise (none / 0) (#111)
    by flashman on Tue Apr 22, 2008 at 02:47:45 PM EST
    at least not in her first term.  There are other incentives, like settling the Palestinian issue.  Where is the peace process?  Why not try to restart that?  I'm not a fan of nukes in Israel.  I think the pres. can make progress by means that are politically tenable.  Let's try to move the peace process forward, and start a discussion about removing nukes, eh?

    BTW, there is lots of evidence that Iran is willing to sit down and negotiate over their nukes.  It's time to take them up on it.


    Hilarious (none / 0) (#115)
    by squeaky on Tue Apr 22, 2008 at 02:56:30 PM EST
    The irony is too much here:

    BTW, there is lots of evidence that Iran is willing to sit down and negotiate over their nukes.  It's time to take them up on it.

    That Iran, axis of evil, kin of the devil, is willing to talk about Nukes, but the good guy on the block aka Israel is not only not willing to discuss their Nukes, but will not even acknowledge that they have them.


    It Gets Curiouser and Curiouser (none / 0) (#117)
    by flashman on Tue Apr 22, 2008 at 03:01:15 PM EST
    Who know what is real, and what is an illusion?

    Disagree. (none / 0) (#71)
    by Radix on Tue Apr 22, 2008 at 01:24:05 PM EST
    Your point that Israel wouldn't engage with Iran, if Iran had nukes, might be valid, I think Israel wouldn't go nuclear for other reasons myself. As for deterring the US from going nuclear, Iranian nuclear capabilities would have little effect. As you pointed out with the bunker busters, the US has very accurate bombs, we can first strike them with no fear of direct retaliation from them, which isn't likely to change for quite sometime, think N, Korea here, and the fact they still don't have missiles that can hit America yet. How long has Korea been working on that problem?

    Because there are no facts, there is no truth, Just data to be manipulated

    Don Henley-The Garden of Allah


    OK (none / 0) (#88)
    by squeaky on Tue Apr 22, 2008 at 01:53:31 PM EST
    We disagree. I do think that the US (BushCo) would use bunker busters on Iran, and may still before the NOv elections, but that is to prevent them from getting nukes. Once they acquire nukes I do not think that the US (BushCo) would carry out their threats, because the chance that Iran would launch a nuke at Israel and start a chain reaction of annihilation would be too great.

    The proven madmen in tie ME equation, are not the lunatic arabs or psychopathic persians but the neocons of BushCo and their Likudnik pals in Israel.  Once they are out of office we will all be a lot safer. If BushCo starts a war with Iran before November all bets are off, and McCain will be the new greatest threat to world peace.


    Nope, I disagree if Clinton wins again today (none / 0) (#64)
    by Salt on Tue Apr 22, 2008 at 01:04:52 PM EST
    after Obama outspends her 3 or 4 to one, SD's and Dem leadership need to be honest with themselves on the electability question and what are the Party's goals for Nov. which by the way should include the wishes of the Base not just the party elite.  

    Debate is healthy, not something to avoid (none / 0) (#68)
    by catfish on Tue Apr 22, 2008 at 01:14:39 PM EST
    This generation (mine and ones younger) seem to believe that conflict of any kind is bad.

    Even conflict of ideas.

    You're righ (5.00 / 1) (#116)
    by AnninCA on Tue Apr 22, 2008 at 03:00:40 PM EST
    I have noticed a strange mindset that conflict is bad.

    Guess we parents over-emphasized the "Get Along" idea.                


    I call it Generation Soft (none / 0) (#120)
    by catfish on Tue Apr 22, 2008 at 03:06:04 PM EST
    It's been an obsession lately.

    That movie "Into the Wild" touched a chord.


    Not a comment a serious candidate makes (none / 0) (#69)
    by Seth90212 on Tue Apr 22, 2008 at 01:17:22 PM EST
    It is wrong on so many levels. Hillary has seemed unhinged since losing her cloak of inevitability. She has since been running around making one wild statement after another, in effect playing a spoiler role. I assure she would not have made this statement during the inevitability days. Anyone who thinks Obama is going to issue a similar statement is deluding him/herself. He won't touch this with a 10' pole and he shouldn't. There is a vast difference between targeted strikes in the tribal areas of Pakistan and the nuclear annihilation of tens of millions of people.

    wild statements (5.00 / 1) (#73)
    by dws3665 on Tue Apr 22, 2008 at 01:25:53 PM EST
    such as? Promising universal healthcare? Having sensible, specific plans for middle east security?

    That you think your candidate shouldn't approach this issue or have a similar position on it tells me everything I need to know about "high information" Obama voters.


    Well then, perhaps you would care to explain (5.00 / 1) (#77)
    by Radix on Tue Apr 22, 2008 at 01:37:36 PM EST
    what Obama really meant, when he was asked about Iran going nuclear on Israel?

    Hmm (none / 0) (#74)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Tue Apr 22, 2008 at 01:35:44 PM EST
    So if Obama agrees then what

    Obama had a chance to concur (none / 0) (#87)
    by Seth90212 on Tue Apr 22, 2008 at 01:53:22 PM EST
    in the debate but declined. He was hesitant and vague, as Hillary should have been. The problem is that Hillary is behind, the math against her s inexorable, so she very aggressive, even reckless in looking for game changing moments. The flip side of that is she often comes off unpresidential, harried and desperate. The entire Clinton apparatus has suffered from this malady post-Iowa, including especially Bill. I cannot imagine the careful and reserved Hillary of the inevitability days even considering making a statement like this. And had she said it back then it would have caused shockwaves around the world. Not only is it reckless, it represents a fundamental misreading of the relative strengths of the protagonists in the Middle East. Israel can destroy Iran. Iran cannot destroy Israel. Israel is far ahead of Iran by every military, economic and lifestyle metric. And to suggest that her umbrella should encompass the likes of KSA, Syria, Libya, Kuwait, Jordan, etc. boggles the imagination.

    If we are cavalier in the way we talk about using nuclear weapons one day someone will drop one on us. Hillary's statement will accelerate Iran's pursuit of the bomb, not diminish it. The only way to prevent Iran from getting the bomb is through careful and consistent diplomacy. We cannot commit millions of troops to an occupation of Iran, consequently any threat of military force is an empty one.


    But Obama did concur (5.00 / 1) (#112)
    by Radix on Tue Apr 22, 2008 at 02:53:48 PM EST
    He was asked if nukes were an option, he said nothing was off the table. Since nothing is off the table, how can one say that doesn't included a nuclear response?

    As far as using Bushco policies as an example, that misstates what Clinton said. She has always maintained diplomacy as the first option, her statement about the use of nukes, was in regards to diplomacy failing and Iran going nuclear on Israel.

    Now as to the fact that Obama chooses to remain vague, so as to allow his supporters to infer whatever they like about his assertions, that somehow, because Clinton chooses to spell out what she means, makes him more presidential and her less, I don't buy it.

    Because there are no facts, there is no truth, Just data to be manipulated

    Don Henley-The Garden of Allah


    nothing was off the table. (none / 0) (#123)
    by echinopsia on Tue Apr 22, 2008 at 03:12:33 PM EST
    No one has ever done more to put more stuff on that poor table than Obama.

    No worries, it's a good made in America table. (none / 0) (#128)
    by Radix on Tue Apr 22, 2008 at 03:26:59 PM EST
    It can take it.

    Because there are no facts, there is no truth, Just data to be manipulated

    Don Henley-The Garden of Allah


    Nothing is off the table, including getting (none / 0) (#129)
    by Seth90212 on Tue Apr 22, 2008 at 03:29:20 PM EST
    hit by an asteroid. That is a more responsible statement than I will obliterate you. Nothing is ever off the table even in our dealings with allies like the U.K. It's just prudent to keep everything on the table. I'm sorry you don't see the difference.

    reductio absurdum (none / 0) (#131)
    by dws3665 on Tue Apr 22, 2008 at 03:34:20 PM EST
    moving right along.

    Ignorant and meaningless (none / 0) (#134)
    by Seth90212 on Tue Apr 22, 2008 at 03:43:21 PM EST
    We have wargamed war with the U.K, and France and even Isreal. There are detailed plans in place on attacking those countries. These plans are constantly refined and modulated. This goes under the rubric that nothing is off the table. It is a responsible answer because it so vague and nebulous and does not necessarily represent a threat of attack.

    In other words, you have no idea (none / 0) (#133)
    by Radix on Tue Apr 22, 2008 at 03:38:30 PM EST
    what Obama really means and you find more comfort in that fact. As opposed to, knowing exactly what Hillary meant. But you can't state, for a fact, whether Obama would go nuclear or not, you have no way of knowing, do you? And you find this type of political speak admirable? I for one prefer those who speak plainly, at least then we can have a discussion and perhaps some compromise.

    Because there are no facts, there is no truth, Just data to be manipulated

    Don Henley-The Garden of Allah


    Diplomacy is only one tool (none / 0) (#96)
    by Prabhata on Tue Apr 22, 2008 at 02:04:39 PM EST
    If BO thinks he can do everything with diplomacy, he is naive.

    There is no military option in Iran (none / 0) (#102)
    by Seth90212 on Tue Apr 22, 2008 at 02:23:13 PM EST
    all of this has been war gamed to death. You cannot prevent the production of nuclear weapons there without boots on the ground for an undetermined duration. It would take millions of boots. We won't do that short of a draft or an immediate, existential threat. The Iranians know this. So diplomacy is the only credible option. The key is to prevent them from getting nukes, not concede that they will get them and then threaten to obliterate them if they use it. Use North Korea as a model. After all the threats from Bush proved totally ineffectual, it was diplomacy that finally did the trick. By the way, the same diplomacy that Bill Clinton pursued (to his credit) and that Bush had criticized him for.

    When did anyone concede Iran getting nukes? (none / 0) (#136)
    by Radix on Tue Apr 22, 2008 at 03:59:29 PM EST
    Clinton has always maintained the goal is to prevent Iran from getting nuke through diplomacy. The question put to her and Obama, was what their response would be if Iran did get nukes and used them.

    Because there are no facts, there is no truth, Just data to be manipulated

    Don Henley-The Garden of Allah


    I disagree. HRC would have made that statement (none / 0) (#97)
    by Prabhata on Tue Apr 22, 2008 at 02:14:55 PM EST
    She's always made sure the supporters of Israel did not turn against her.  It's a very shrewd move.  She's been in politics long enough to know that making enemies in that camp is a sure loss.

    Oh for dog's sake (none / 0) (#122)
    by echinopsia on Tue Apr 22, 2008 at 03:10:42 PM EST
    Can't I just eat my waffle?

    You are missing the point (none / 0) (#132)
    by JohnS on Tue Apr 22, 2008 at 03:35:18 PM EST
    HRC is only promising destruction of Iran in the event that a nuclearized Iran attacks Israel first.

    But Iran doesn't even have nuclear weapons, and won't for a good number of years. She is responding to fears in Israel (and Arab states) who want to preemptively attack Iran now, with the intent being to destroy their nuclear program before it becomes a threat. Make no mistake, tactical nukes will be required to get that job done, and Israel has them, thanks to us.

    Clinton is trying to calm them down, not stir things up.


    Thanks (none / 0) (#99)
    by AnninCA on Tue Apr 22, 2008 at 02:15:57 PM EST
    for the simple explanation.  I understood the gist of it from the debate, but you laid it out in more concrete details.

    I believe she just led the country, personally.  Everyone is too nervous about negative campaigning.  So she gave us something to talk about.

    Reminds me of Bonnie Rait.  :)                                                      

    Thanks (none / 0) (#100)
    by AnninCA on Tue Apr 22, 2008 at 02:15:57 PM EST
    for the simple explanation.  I understood the gist of it from the debate, but you laid it out in more concrete details.

    I believe she just led the country, personally.  Everyone is too nervous about negative campaigning.  So she gave us something to talk about.

    Reminds me of Bonnie Rait.  :)                                                      

    Critical to understanding HRC's proposal (none / 0) (#109)
    by JohnS on Tue Apr 22, 2008 at 02:45:15 PM EST
    is understanding Israel's thinking regarding a second strike against Iran. Despite having between 100-200 nuclear tipped intercontinental ballistic and I don't know how many medium range cruise missiles aboard a 3 or so submarines, the Israeli's don't think they'll have one.

    Because their nation is tiny. The thinking is that a well-planned Iranian nuclear first strike will wipe Israel off the face of the map, and that they won't be able to respond. THAT's why Clinton is promising this to Israel.

    The neocon solution is to bomb Iran now, preemptively. And that will necessarily require tactical nukes to destroy Iran's nuke facilities. We supplied Israel with the nukes, BTW. Both Israel and the U.S. would become international pariahs if not war criminals -- Iran is not, and will not be for the forseeable future, nuclearly (a real word?) weaponized.

    She is trying deterrance pure and simple. Almost the same way we achieved nuclear deterrance in Western Europe and Japan post-WWIIin view of perceived threats from the USSR and China respectively. (I say almost because both she and BO have both stated categorically that there will be no permanent bases in Iraq -- so no US troops on the ground will be protecting Israel's and Saudi Arabia's borders from Iran).

    Israel, the Saudis and others are nervous/panicky and HRC's "nuclear umbrella" is intended to soothe those frayed nerves. Specifically to prevent an Israeli first strike on Iran and give the saudis and others a reason not to develop their own nukes/start an arms race.

    I have yet to see a comperably realistic solution to the problem/eventual reality of a nuclear weaponized Iran.

    Not any analysis why you think (none / 0) (#139)
    by AdrianLesher on Tue Apr 22, 2008 at 04:42:22 PM EST
    Aravosis is "inane." Arguing by insult isn't very convincing.

    See EW's post (none / 0) (#140)
    by bordenl on Tue Apr 22, 2008 at 05:27:10 PM EST
    Her take is that we should do this only if we are willing to protect the Arab countries from an Israeli strike. Even if this is a good idea, we have low credibility.

    Not Really (none / 0) (#141)
    by squeaky on Tue Apr 22, 2008 at 05:49:48 PM EST
    SHe did make that point and it is a good one but her main point is  is that the US cannot be the one trusted to hold the umbrella. France or China would have to take over.

    IMO, any discussion is worthless, as long as Israel is held to an entirely different set of rules than the rest of the players.