Secretary of State Clinton said in
We want Iran to calculate what I think is a fair assessment that, if the United States extends a defense umbrella over the region, if we do even more to support the military capacity of those in the Gulf, it's unlikely that Iran will be any stronger or safer because they won't be able to intimidate and dominate as they apparently believe they can, once they have a nuclear weapon.
Curiously, these ill-chosen words do not appear to be on the State Department website. On that website, she is quoted as saying in
The words she used regarding the
If we are going to make assumptions about Iran, rather than looking at facts, the far more obvious assumption is that Israel, which repeatedly threatens to attack, is intimidating Iran. The far more logical conclusion is that the surest route to solving the problem is not to further threaten
Any assumptions may of course be wrong. But starting with the assumption that one’s allies are good and one’s opponents are evil, and then putting all one’s eggs in that single basket, is hardly a professional way of designing foreign policy. More specifically, a defense umbrella of nuclear allies and everyone else against a single outsider that is either non-nuclear or armed with a primitive nuclear capability does not constitute a very thoughtful plan for the future.
An alternative interpretation, offered by a colleague who shall go unnamed unless he requests that he be named (and also expressed in Israeli media), suggests that the real meaning of Clinton's remarks is that Israel has been trapped. Whereas I argued that her remarks constituted Israel and the US ganging up on Iran, my colleague's interpretation is that she implicitly took away Israel's freedom of movement and effectively took away the value of Israel's nuclear capability. I'm not sure that anything really would prevent Israel from firing "through" an American nuclear umbrella, and I suspect Iran is not sure either. Nevertheless, there's one dissenting opinion.