Dick Morris and  Eileen McGann

In last week's Philadelphia debate, Hillary Clinton said she would commit the United States to a retaliatory attack against Iran, presumably with nuclear weapons, if it dropped the bomb on Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates or Kuwait.

Asked if "it should be US policy now to treat an Iranian attack on Israel as if it were an attack against the United States," Clinton astonishingly responded that she'd use American nukes not just to defend Israel, our traditional strategic ally, but also other neighboring states such as the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait from an Iranian nuclear attack.

Barack Obama's far more sensible answer was simply to commit to definitively and aggressively extend our deterrent protection to Israel - period.

Here's Hillary's answer, when asked if she'd make clear to Iran that a nuclear attack on Israel would be answerable with our full retaliatory capability:

"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 can't go to the Saudis or the Kuwaities 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."

No American president has ever made so sweeping a commitment in the region - but Hillary appears eager to break new ground.

Obviously, Iran will shortly develop the ballistic-missile capability to hit Europe and, eventually the United States, just as North Korea is doing.

France's Charles de Gaulle used to wonder if a US president would ever actually trade New York for Paris - that is, retaliate against the USSR with nuclear weapons if Moscow nuked Paris, knowing that Russia would then retaliate by wiping out a US city like New York. His doubts led him to develop France's own nuclear deterrent.

But now Sen. Clinton appears willing to mortgage America's cities to protect nations like Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the UAE - which includes Dubai, which has paid her husband (and the Clintons' joint bank accounts) almost $15 million in the past seven years.

Indeed, is it a coincidence that all three of the countries that she mentioned were generous benefactors to her husband's library? (While donations to the library remain secret, it's known that the Saudi monarchy gave $10 million.)

Liberals often say they don't want to exchange blood for oil. But how much more blood could there be than to guarantee nuclear war over an attack on these nations? Are they worth it?

Dick Morris and Eileen McGann

Dick Morris, a former political adviser to Sen. Trent Lott (R-Miss.) and President Bill Clinton, is the author of 2010: Take Back America. To get all of Dick Morris’s and Eileen McGann’s columns for free by email, go to www.dickmorris.com