Clinton: Gulf Allies Can Stand Under Our Defense Umbrella
Here’s what the secretary of state is saying about Iran’s nuclear program:
Meanwhile, Mrs. Clinton surprised some observers by saying during a Thai television interview that the U.S. would provide a “defense umbrella” over its allies in the Persian Gulf to protect them if Iran acquires nuclear weapons. She later told a news conference in Phuket that “Iran needs to understand that its pursuit of nuclear weapons will not enhance its security or achieve its goal of enhancing its power both regionally and globally,” and that pursuing a nuclear-weapons program could trigger an arms race in the area.
I’ll await the full transcript from the State Department, but this would appear quite a bit like, first, an early U.S. statement that it can in fact tolerate a nuclear Iran; and then second, a way of providing a prophylactic against further nuclear proliferation in the Gulf. And while — again — I’ll await a full transcript, it’s conspicuous how Clinton appeared not to include Israel, the country most threatened by an Iranian nuclear weapon, in her umbrella offer. If she had, it would have been interpreted as a clear red light against an Israeli military strike on Iran.