Barack Obama on Meet The Press took strong exception to Hillary Clinton’s threat to obliterate Iran if it attacks Israel with nuclear weapons:
MR. RUSSERT: What do you think of that language?
SEN. OBAMA: Well, it’s not the language that we need right now, and I think it’s language that’s reflective of George Bush. We have had a foreign policy of bluster and saber-rattling and tough talk, and, in the meantime, we make a series of strategic decisions that actually strengthen Iran. So–and, you know, the irony is, of course, Senator Clinton, during the course of this campaign, has at times said, “We shouldn’t speculate about Iran.” You know, “We’ve got to be cautious when we’re running for president.” She scolded me on a couple of occasions about this issue, and yet, a few days before an election, she’s willing to use that language. But in terms of… terms of…
. . .
MR. RUSSERT: Would you respond against Iran?
SEN. OBAMA: It–Israel is a ally of ours. It is the most important ally we have in the region, and there’s no doubt that we would act forcefully and appropriately on any attack against Iran, nuclear or otherwise. So–but it is important that we use language that sends a signal to the world community that we’re shifting from the sort of cowboy diplomacy, or lack of diplomacy, that we’ve seen out of George Bush. And this kind of language is not helpful. When Iran is able to go to the United Nations complaining about the statements made and get some sympathy, that’s a sign that we are taking the wrong approach.
It is nice to know that the new standard in an Obama administration will be: “Will X make us less popular at the UN?”Given the frequency of pronouncements condemning Israel and the need for U.S. vetoes and strong responses in defense of Israel, one wonders how this will work out in practice.
It’s unclear if the the Democratic primary electorate is entirely bereft of common sense. If not, this may become an issue for Clinton with which to question Obama’s fitness as commander-in-chief. (Watch her rather clear-headed response to Obama’s comments here.) It certainly will be one in the general election–should Obama get that far.