Debate Moment: Who’s tougher on Iran?


Last night Barack Obama reminded us why some hawkish pro-Israel folks prefer Hillary Clinton.

Asked whether he would extend American deterrence to Israel, Obama, carefully crafting his words, promised “appropriate action” in the event of an Iranian attack:

As I’ve said before, I think it is very important that Iran understands that an attack on Israel is an attack on our strongest ally in the region, one that we – one whose security we consider paramount, and that – that would be an act of aggression that we – that I would – that I would consider an attack that is unacceptable, and the United States would take appropriate action.

When it was Clinton’s turn, she one-upped Obama, promising – twice – “massive retaliation” against Iran. She also laid out a three-point plan that would extend American deterrence to other allies in the region.

You can’t go to the Saudis or the Kuwaitis or UAE and others who have a legitimate concern about Iran and say: Well, don’t acquire these weapons to defend yourself unless you’re also willing to say we will provide a deterrent backup and we will let the Iranians know that, yes, an attack on Israel would trigger massive retaliation, but so would an attack on those countries that are willing to go under this security umbrella and forswear their own nuclear ambitions.

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