President Bush persistently talks of the threat posed by the Iranian regime to American interests, regional and international security. Indeed, along with Iraq and North Korea, these countries constituted Bush’s ‘Axis of Evil’ – The phrase coined in the aftermath of 9/11 to characterise the nature of the threat facing the United States.

Not content, however, Hillary Clinton has decided to take it one stage further. Still battling against Barack Obama for the Democratic nomination, Clinton has chosen to use primary day in Pennsylvania to clarify her position: In the event of an Iranian attack on Israel, a President Clinton would “obliterate” Iran.

This is the same Hillary Clinton who denounced President Bush last year for trying to “distort intelligence to pursue his ideological ends” after the 2007 National Intelligence Estimate, a collaborative document combining the expertise of the leading intelligence agencies in the US, found that there was no evidence of a continuing Iranian nuclear weapons programme.

Not only do Clinton’s comments smack of hypocrisy and opportunism, therefore, but they also display a height of irresponsibility. It is not clear what purpose Clinton thinks the comments serve, for the American people are surely aware of US military capabilities, and given Iran’s NIE reported change of behaviour, the Iranian regime does too. I take no position here on the debate as to what Iranian intentions are, but suffice to say, such displays of pugnacity and contempt for constructive diplomacy should be met with equal contempt.

The American people should place their trust in Barack Obama and his pledge to use “aggressive personal diplomacy” to resolve the many crises in the world today, be it relations with Iran or stalemate in the Peace Process.

by Jack Gilliland


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