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Obama Deterrence Theory


U.S. President-elect Barack Obama's administration will offer Israel a "nuclear umbrella" against the threat of a nuclear attack by Iran, a well-placed American source said earlier this week. The source, who is close to the new administration, said the U.S. will declare that an attack on Israel by Tehran would result in a devastating U.S. nuclear response against Iran. 

This has conservatives like Michael Ledeen upset at the implication, in their reading, that Obama is resigned to an Iranian bomb and hasn't meant it when he's promised to do everything necessary to prevent one. I'm not sure it's that simple--though Ledeen does remind us of the many people who self-assuredly warned in the past couple of years that Bush and Cheney were absolutely determined to bomb Iran before leaving office almost no matter what. (Yes, there's still time to fulfill that prophecy.)

Incidentally this report, if true, just seems like a far more subtle iteration of Hillary's bracing primary-season statement that the U.S. could "totally obliterate" Iran were it to nuke Israel.

--Michael Crowley