May 1, 2008
Need a (Nuclear) Umbrella? Call Hillary
by Leon Hadar
One of the central tenets of the US containment strategy during the Cold War was the belief in Moscow as well as in the capitals of America's allies across the Atlantic and the Pacific that in a crisis with the Communist powers, Americans would risk New York, Chicago and Los Angeles for London and Bonn, Tokyo and Seoul.
Indeed, US strategy of "extended deterrence" – encapsulated in the metaphor of a "nuclear umbrella" – worked since the Soviet Union was presented with a credible threat of two-front war if they decided to launch nuclear attacks against America's allies whose security was considered to be a core US national interest.
The extension of America's nuclear umbrella into Western Europe and East Asia became an integral part of formal agreements with the members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), Japan and South Korea that had been approved by Congress following an extensive debate in Washington.
This commitment to risk New York for other world capitals reflected the recognition that US interests and those of its allies were compatible as part of a global conflict with a Soviet-led Communist bloc armed with conventional and nuclear arms, posing a direct threat to the US-led Western alliance.
Now, a quarter of a century after the end of the Cold War, a leading presidential candidate is proposing that the United States provide a similar nuclear umbrella to Israel and other pro-American governments in the Middle East as part of a strategy of containing Iran.
To apply the terminology of the Cold War, Democratic Senator Hillary Clinton is suggesting that in a crisis with Iran, Americans would indeed risk New York, Chicago and Los Angeles, for Tel-Aviv, Riyadh, and Abu Dhabi and perhaps even Cairo and Baghdad. (read the rest)