Sunday, July 26, 2009

Is Hillary Overstepping?

Her statements today on Meet the Press about the Iranian pursuit of nukes seem to stand in sharp contradistinction to statements from the President and from Hillary herself:

Obama - I understand those who protest that some countries have weapons that others do not. No single nation should pick and choose which nations hold nuclear weapons. That is why I strongly reaffirmed America's commitment to seek a world in which no nations hold nuclear weapons. And any nation - including Iran - should have the right to access peaceful nuclear power if it complies with its responsibilities under the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. That commitment is at the core of the Treaty, and it must be kept for all who fully abide by it. And I am hopeful that all countries in the region can share in this goal.

Clinton - 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. First, we're going to do everything we can to prevent you from ever getting a nuclear weapon. But your pursuit is futile, because we will never let Iran--nuclear-armed, not nuclear-armed, it is something that we view with great concern, and that's why we're doing everything we can to prevent that from ever happening.

Obama's statement is empty - he's in effect saying that the thwarting of Iran will not happen until the nuclear nations of the world agree to dismantle and destroy their nuclear stockpiles. This will not happen. Clinton's statement is far more strongly worded and is a sharp turn from her comments earlier this week which indicated that we let Iran to go nuclear and that, at that point, we would extend a "nuclear umbrella" over the nations of the region. The statement is far more proactive than the earlier statement and more proactive than nearly anything Obama has said recently about the Iranian program. Obama's proactivity is expressed through a desire to commit all G8 nations to action in the form of negotiation.

So, did Secretary Clinton overstep? I suspect she did and I suspect we will see a rift develop between her and Obama. He is not comfortable sharing the limelight with anyone.

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