United States Secretary of State Hillary R. Clinton has just told Israel, in effect, not to worry about Iranian nuclear weapons because America will provide the Jewish state with a "defense umbrella."
As readers of this blog know, I am researching and writing a book about General Douglas MacArthur. Recently, I wrote the following:
Just as [a National Security Council document], Truman, the Joint Chiefs and MacArthur had all stated previously, [then Secretary of State Dean] Acheson precisely defined the Asian perimeter which the United States would defend. He pointedly omitted South Korea and Formosa (now Taiwan). “Those omitted [countries] would have to rely upon their own resources until the U.N. could mobilize against an aggressor”—- if it would. [MacArthur biographer] William Manchester elaborates on Acheson’s Press Club remarks:
America’s line of defense, [Acheson] said, “runs along the Aleutians to Japan and then goes to the Ryukyus [chiefly Okinawa]. We hold important defense positions in the Ryukyu Islands, and these we will continue to hold . . . The defense perimeter runs from the Ryukyus to the Philippine Islands.” He continued: ‘So far as the Military Security of the United States is concerned”—-and here he obviously had Formosa and South Korea in mind-—“it must be clear that no person can guarantee these areas against military attack. Should such an attack occur . . . the initial reliance must be on the people attacked.” If they proved to be resolute fighters, he vaguely concluded, they were entitled to an appeal under the charter of the UN. To the end of his life Acheson would vigorously deny that this had given the green light for aggression in South Korea by excluding it from the perimeter, but when he told the press club that the United States was waiting ‘for the dust to settle’ in China after declaring that America’s line of resistance lay south of the Korean peninsula, the Communists could only conclude, as they did, that the United States was leaving [South Korean President] Rhee to fend for himself.
There is much more to the story of why and how North Korea attacked South Korea on June 25, 1950, but it is incontrovertible that the Truman Administration speaking through Acheson and other officials defined South Korea out of United States' defense interests in Asia.
Although those interests would soon change, it would be too late to prevent the onslaught of North Korean troops into South Korea and the ensuing war.
An American "defense umbrella" is not a political or military policy. It is a worthless slogan, because under Obama and Clinton the "umbrella" will remain closed--while nuclear lightening and atomic waste rain on Israel.