Her idea of a US ‘defense umbrella’ against Iranian nukes may only trigger war.
Loose lips sink ships and, for America's top diplomats, they can also sink countries into war.
In early 1950, then-Secretary of State Dean Acheson implied – mistakenly – that the US would not defend South Korea from communist attack. A few months later, North Korea did invade. It took three years and nearly 40,000 lives to end combat.
Oops. She didn't really mean it exactly that way, her aides said. But the comment nonetheless suggests President Obama may be ready to accept a nuclear-armed Iran. And, more important, he might counter it with either a missile defense system in the Middle East or perhaps – despite the denial of unnamed Clinton aides – a promise to regional allies of a US nuclear strike on Iran if it ever launched an atomic weapon.
A promise of US nuclear reprisal against Iran would be similar to the "mutual assured destruction" strategy used to contain the Soviet Union. And it would mirror the "nuclear umbrella" the US now provides NATO allies as well as Japan and South Korea.
If the US is no longer hopeful about its diplomatic means to persuade Iran to shelve or abandon its nuclear ambition, that could make Israel all the more trigger-happy to take out Iran's nuclear facilities with a military strike. The likely result? A Middle East engulfed in war.