Thursday, September 23, 2010

Comment on Newser:
Ahmadinejad Threatens 'War Without Boundaries'

Discussion of: Ahmadinejad Threatens 'War Without Boundaries' - Iranian president promises retaliation for attacks on nuclear sites

There is a time when strategic ambiguity works. For example it was United States policy for decades, all standing policies that were bipartisan expired when Obama walked into the room, to "neither confirm nor deny" the presence of nuclear weapons on any warship or military installation. Similarly John Foster Dulles assured the world that we would respond "at places and with means of our own choosing" to any Soviet attack on the US or an ally.

There are times when ambiguity does not work or the effort at clarity sends the wrong signal. Dean Acheson at the National Press Club was to ambiguous about America's interests and gave the impression that we would not fight for Korea.

There is a time when clarity is called for. In the cases of the Cuban Missile crisis and the Berlin crisis and the threat to Israel in 1973 the Presidents made sure that there was no doubt where our red lines were and that we would excalate, even to the use of nuclear weapons, if those lines were crossed. Those times certainty saved millions of lives.

In the case of Iran it would probably be best if the President personally laid out exactly what our plans are and how we will irreparably destroy Iran, not just as the seat of their current government, as a nation for the foreseeable future if they use weapons of mass destruction against either the United States or our allies, including Israel. That threat should be clear, it should be credible, and it should not be subject to the restraint or approval of any outside agency.

If the grandees of the United Nations or the Islamic Conference or any other group do not like that then we should tell them that when in our opinion they have earned the level of credibility and civilization and decency that merit our entrusting their opinions with that level of control over our sovereignty then we shall let them know.

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