Sunday, July 26, 2009

United States shouldn't threaten war unless it means it

Was U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton serious today when she warned Iran that it would not permitted to possess nuclear weapons or even produce nuclear fuel for power plants? Did she really mean to threaten war against the Shiite country that had regarded Washington with emnity since the 1979 revolution that overthrew a U.S.-backed ruler who had imposed a monarchy on Iran? That's certainly what it sounded like Sunday when she told Iran's leaders on NBC's "Meet The Press" television show that the country's efforts to develop nuclear weapons was "futile" and said the United States would not permit Tehran to produce its own nuclear fuel, according to the New York Times. "We’re trying to affect the internal calculus of the Iranian regime,” Clinton said. "What we want to do is to send a message to whoever is making these decisions that if you’re pursuing nuclear weapons for the purpose of intimidating, of projecting your power, we’re not going to let that happen.” Well, if something sounds like a threat, looks like a threat and feels like a threat, it's reasonably certain that it's a threat. Is the United States really going to attack Iran, or enlist its allies to, if Tehran continues defying international economic and diplomatic sanctions aimed at bringing an end to its nuclear research? For its part, the rest of the Obama administration immediately began backing away from Clinton's most-threatening comments. Senior officials said Clinton was offering her own opinion but also agreed with her statement that the United States was committed to defending its allies in the region, which presumably include Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Israel, Iraq, and Turkey. “You have a right to pursue the peaceful use of civil, nuclear power,” Clinton said as if speaking to Iran's leaders. “You do not have a right to obtain a nuclear weapon. You do not have the right to have the full enrichment and reprocessing cycle under your control." But what if Iran continues to ignore the international community's demands, what then?

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