Sunday, April 27, 2008

Dealing with Nuclear War: Test for a Mature Democracy

Saudi Arabia and Iran, according to a storyline that militarist circles in the U.S. like to promote, are engaged in a fundamental struggle for survival. In that context, the following remarks from an editorial in the Saudi paper Arab News on Hillary's threat to "obliterate" Iran are noteworthy:

Editorial: Clinton’s Threat to Iran
24 April 2008

If there were any doubt that if she made it to the Oval Office, Hillary Clinton’s term would be George Bush Mark III, the lady made it plain on the eve of Tuesday’s Pennsylvania primary....
Monday night, Clinton drove home her “toughness” by threatening to “obliterate” Iran if it launched an attack on Israel. Given the kind of foreign policy advisers she has (the same as those who paved the way for Iraq war), she may not wait for Iran to “attack” Israel. It can be a pre-emptive “obliteration.”
This is the foreign politics of the madhouse. It demonstrates the same doltish ignorance that has distinguished Bush’s foreign relations. It offers only violence where there should be negotiations and war where there could be peace. At a stroke, Clinton demonstrated to everyone in this region that if she were the next occupant of the White House, Iraq-like death and destruction would be the order of the day.

Even the Republican candidate, John McCain, has not been so war-like in his views of Iran. This experienced politician has at least had the good sense to leave open as many options as possible. And there is now a strong sense that if he were president, Barack Obama’s inclination would be to try to pick up some of the many opportunities for negotiation and peace-making that have been discarded by the belligerent Bush administration....
There is little or no consideration of how simplistic Washington analysts actually plunged the region into chaos in the first place. America’s world outlook remains disturbingly black and white. Hillary Clinton has demonstrated that even if she knows better, she is prepared to ride and exploit this mulish ignorance.

The threat to “obliterate” Iran is dangerous folly. What though has this woman given to the implicit threat Israel makes to the rest of the region with its own nuclear arsenal? How does she imagine that such talk will play to those Iranians who want rapprochement with Washington?
Questions critical to the future of all of us...the kind of questions a mature democracy would be debating in an election season.

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