Still in Asia, she moved on to Thailand for an international security conference. Madame Secretary talked about an umbrella: "We want Iran to calculate what I think is a fair assessment: that if the US extends a defense umbrella over the region, if we do even more to support the military capacity of those in the Gulf, it is unlikely Iran will be any stronger or safer," Clinton said.
Secretary Clinton made a terrible gaffe in Thailand when she said this: "[The Iranians] won't be able to intimidate and dominate as they apparently believe they can once they have a nuclear weapon.” Once they have a nuclear weapon. This is an incredible climb-down. For decades it has been the policy of the U.S. and our NATO allies that Iran must not have a nuclear weapon. Now, Mrs. Clinton seems to be publicly resigned to the idea that Iran will have a nuclear weapon.
The last major world figure to substitute his “umbrella” for sound defense policy was Neville Chamberlain—at Munich. Mrs. Clinton is describing a “defense umbrella” that she and President Obama think will somehow calm jittery allies in the Persian Gulf. The idea seems to be that just as the U.S. extended its nuclear umbrella over Western Europe so successfully for 50 years, the Gulf states can rest assured that America will be there to protect them—when the Iranians develop their nuclear weapons.
There’s a fundamental—even radical—flaw in this umbrella line of thinking. The Soviets could be deterred by the sure knowledge that the U.S. had the power to utterly destroy them. As Khrushchev said to Mao Zedong when the two communist dictators met: “The U.S. may be a ‘paper tiger’ as you call it, but that paper tiger has nuclear teeth!”
The Iranian mullahs have shown no such rationality. They do not care if Iran is destroyed so long as Israel is destroyed too. They are rapidly moving to the point where their Russian-built nuclear reactor will be functioning. If you can build a nuclear reactor, you can build a nuclear weapon.
Who says an Iranian nuclear weapon has to be launched by missile? Why couldn’t the Iranians slip it into Israel in a truck? Or detonate it aboard a small boat off Haifa?