PHUKET, Thailand — Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said Wednesday that the United States would consider extending a “defense umbrella” over the states in the Persian Gulf region if Iran does not bow to international demands to halt its nuclear program.
Her comment, delivered at a freewheeling town hall meeting in Bangkok, was both a warning to the Iranian government and a glimpse of how the Obama administration might cope with a nuclear-armed Iran, should Tehran continue with what Washington says is a sustained effort to acquire nuclear weapons. Iran insists that its nuclear program is for civilian purposes only.
Mrs. Clinton later said that she was not articulating a new American policy toward Iran, merely demonstrating that Iran’s pursuit of a nuclear weapon would not give it the safety and security it believes it would.
A defense umbrella in the Persian Gulf would move the United States closer to the explicit security guarantee that Washington gives allies in Asia, though that is a nuclear umbrella — a term Mrs. Clinton did not use Wednesday. She did talk about fortifying the military ability of Iran’s neighbors.
“We want Iran to calculate what I think is a fair assessment that if the U.S. extends a defense umbrella over the region, if we do even more to support the military capacity of those in the Gulf,” she said, “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.”
If you think of this virago merely as a mouthpiece of a failed state -- a state without a productive economy, without any effectively-guaranteed civil liberties, without a sound currency, and without an educational system worthy of the name -- then her threatening, hectoring words would at least offer some comic amusement to her audiences. But we're talking about a failed state that's sitting on a huge pile of nukes. And we're not talking about a semi-respectable, genteel sort of failed state, whose soggy collapse is being overseen by sober-but-weary grownups. We're talking about one ruled by bizarre clowns. Bizarre, evil clowns, that is.
"Extend a defense umbrella over the Gulf ..." What a novel idea! Of course, we've been defending our hand-selected petro-puppets for most of a century, now, against invasion by anyone except us (and The Precioussssss). We've defended those folk against even the scourge of Islamic democracy. Sounds like a very small variation on a theme that's been played, and played, and played.