Clinton’s Security Umbrella

Props to Hillary Clinton, the best Democratic candidate when it comes to national defense, for reiterating and emphasizing that the United States has as a goal the elimination of state-on-state warfare in areas of the world we consider important. (I heard this on Meet the Press, where the analysis was political as opposed to strategic. This sort of reaction underlines Clinton’s bravery when it comes to protecting the country.)

Political Punch
Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-NY, said that the U.S. “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.” …

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 an old strategy by the United States. But a good one.

Way to go, Hill.

7 thoughts on “Clinton’s Security Umbrella”

  1. So…will she ask the Israelis give up their nukes in exchange for protection under this umbrella?

  2. Don’t see why she would… regimes as diverse as the UK and Maoist China were under the US umbrella while maintaining their own strategic defense.

  3. Dan,

    An old concept indeed. Extended deterrence worked in Europe save for the Brits and French, who decided they couldn’t trust our deterrent capability if the Soviets struck first.

    Notice Senator Clinton omitted Iran from being included in the Security Umbrella. We protect all the Sunni countries against Iran, but do not work to provide any security to that country. Iran wants the bomb because they feel threatened by us and Isreal. If we stop threatening Iran (and try to make them more feel secure), they will want the bomb less, and we won’t have to get into this Persian Cold War about regional alliances.

    Hillary won’t talk to the mullahs, but Obama will. And that makes him the best foreign policy candidate.

  4. Dan,

    An old concept indeed. Extended deterrence worked in Europe save for the Brits and French, who decided they couldn’t trust our deterrent capability if the Soviets struck first.

    This paragraph seems out of place. Why was it a failure for Britain and France? Was it also a failure for China?

    Notice Senator Clinton omitted Iran from being included in the Security Umbrella. We protect all the Sunni countries against Iran, but do not work to provide any security to that country.

    To complete the analogy, are you arguing that Nixon put the Soviet Union under the US security umbrella? Should he have?

    If we stop threatening Iran (and try to make them more feel secure), they will want the bomb less, and we won’t have to get into this Persian Cold War about regional alliances.

    Do you believe that “stop threatening Iran” is a formula that will prevent Iran from building a nuclear weapon?

    Hillary won’t talk to the mullahs, but Obama will.

    I think what you meant to say is that Obama discounts to below zero the net costs of speaking directly to Iran, regardless of Iran’s actions or bargaining position.

    And that makes him the best foreign policy candidate.

    You’re a one-issue voter?

  5. Britain and France (and China) having their own nukes made deterrance more credible since it presented the Soviets with a bunch of ways that various scenarios could play out. The USA initially wanted Britain and France not to have them (1950s) then grudgingly accepted it (60s and 70s) then came to see that deterrance is about uncertainty and having these other balls in the air was a good thing (80s) and made the Russians less likely to go to war with the West.

    We need a back-channel to Iran. Through India, I think. Might as well work that new Indian relationship, and give confidence to the insiders in the know at the top in India that we are serious about talking to Iran, whom they have good relations with, if the conditions are right. We need to lay the foundation for a public dialogue long before that happens. You don’t just make a no-conditions offer like Obama did. That is simply throwing away chips. That shows he is naive to the point of being dangerous.

  6. Dan and Lex,

    Both great responses. Lex lays out the collapse of extended deterrence I was referring to. Although, I thought some more about this and realized the strategic logic changes without ICBMs that can deliver that immediate second-strike capability.

    As for Nixon, the Soviets were an enemy, but the more immediate problem for him was China which at that time was still working with N. Vietnam. Security umbrellas aside (and no, the Sovs should not have been included), props to Nix for speaking to Mao.

    And is it so bad if we telegraph we want to talk in advance? At the least, it gives the Iranian moderates a chance to say, ‘look! A different relationship with the Americans is possible! Maybe then we can stop being an isolated pariah state with ridiculous inflation and energy shortages despite all that oil.”

    Telegraphing we want to talk lays the groundwork for future political change in Iran. It also signals the credibility of our intentions. Let’s be up front about the fact that its time for the Persian Cold War to end, so they will believe us as well.

    Lastly, given my obsessive focus on foreign affairs, I guess that does make me a one-issue person. I can live with that I guess.

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