Clinton, The 'Nuclear Umbrella' & The NeoCons

On "Meet The Press" last Sunday April 20th, with David Brooks, E.J. Dionne and Michelle Norris, host Tim Russert brought up the "nuclear umbrella" idea that Hillary Clinton floated in her April 16th debate in Philadelphia with Barack Obama and DAVID BROOKS of all people, replied, "I’m amazed, I think like you, maybe,that it didn’t become a bigger issue. Because what it says, I think, to a lot of Americans, two Arab countries or two Middle Eastern countries get in a war and we’re going to get in the middle of it?... I don’t know why she would’ve said it, what policy thinking behind it was. It seems to me extremely perilous." E.J. Dionne concurred, "the term massive retaliation is a pretty strong term that she used in the course of that debate."

"Massive retaliation" is indeed a 'pretty strong term', to put it MILDLY and I've consulted with nuclear deterrence theory George E. Lowe, [link to interview with Lowe] who wrote the 1964 book "The Age of Deterrence" ( Little, Brown) and has won awards for his writing on nuclear deterrence as well, about WHY "massive [nuclear] retaliation" is such a loaded term and WHY the "Meet The Press" folks may have been taken aback by Clinton's "nuclear umbrella" idea.

As Lowe described it, Clinton's "nuclear umbrella" idea seems to have taken her adviser former NATO commander General Wes Clark, who as NATO head was in charge of a "nuclear umbrella" himself - it seemed to make Clark's head spin. He appeared blindsided by Clinton's talk of a US "nuclear umbrella" over Asia and George Lowe, who has studied nuclear deterrence for decades and also has written a book and award-winning articles on the subject, was quite taken aback.

NeoCons say such things, and there's a straight line, in such thinking, back to Herman Kahn, Curtis LeMay, and the SAC / RAND lunatics of the 1950's who envisioned fighting and WINNING "limited nuclear war".

Lowe, working as witnessed in the our close brush, 1960-1965, with nuclear incineration during those days, says his Naval "cabal" (O5D) group helped put the "Military Industrial Complex" warning in Ike's Farewell Address speech, says he worked with McCain's father in the Pentagon, and as a speechwriter in the Reagan Administration, thinks Clinton's "nuclear umbrella" idea is INSANE on the same order of madness.

The idea of a US "nuclear umbrella" is positively Strangelovian, even semantically. "Nuclear umbrella" ? What does that amount to ? Fallout settling to Earth during a nuclear winter ?

That would be an "umbrella" of sorts but not an especially pleasant one, and there are lots of wonkish reasons why Clinton's "nuclear umbrella" concept is insane but her apparent intention of flexing US nuclear throw-weight doesn't, as George Lowe told me, doesn't intellectually "track".


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