In case you missed it, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton recently gave a foreign policy speech worthy of a president. In fact, while laying out her case for supporting the Obama administration’s agreement aimed at preventing a nuclear Iran, Clinton had a Ronald Reagan moment.
She spoke, as Reagan did when his administration negotiated nuclear arms agreements with the Soviet Union, of the need to enter into treaties as well as the need to follow up any agreement with vigorous compliance and a multipronged approach aimed at reducing Iran’s influence in the region. Reagan wanted to “trust but verify.” Clinton takes the real politick approach of distrust, verify and act.
Clinton said it best: “The stakes are high, and there are no simple or perfectly satisfying solutions. … Either we move forward on the path of diplomacy and seize this chance to block Iran’s path to a nuclear weapon — or we turn down a more dangerous path. … That is why I support this deal. I support it as part of a larger strategy toward Iran.”
In doing so, Clinton laid out a comprehensive policy that vigorously enforces the agreement (thereby slowing Iran’s ability to acquire a nuclear weapon) while at the same time robustly opposing Iran and its proxies and strengthening our commitment to our allies. After a period that has seen tension between the U.S. and its ally Israel, Clinton, through this speech, signals her rededication of a strong U.S. commitment to bolstering the strength and security of Israel and our other allies in the region.
She recognizes that taking Iran’s pursuit of nuclear weapons off the table is critical, but not enough to deal with Iran’s aggressive activities in the region. Her plan to deal with these broader behaviors is based on five pillars.
First, she puts front and center her dedication to deepening America’s alliance with Israel and our commitment to Israel’s security.
Second, she reaffirms the importance of the Persian Gulf as a region vital to U.S. interests and her commitment to increasing security cooperation.
Third, in supporting the agreement, she underscores the need to build a coalition to oppose Iran and its proxies, including Hezbollah, wherever they seek to have influence or to expand their position, particularly in Syria and Iraq as well as in the Persian Gulf. She would also vigorously enforce sanctions on Iran’s sponsorship of terrorism and prohibitions on sending arms to bad actors.
Fourth, Clinton would stand against the Iranian dictatorship within its own country.
And finally, she acknowledges the need to strengthen this country’s diplomatic efforts in order to generate stability and counter extremism across the region so that Iran cannot exploit it.
In short, Clinton’s speech confirms her belief in a strong and vigorous foreign policy, and her foreign policy record speaks for itself, especially on issues affecting the Middle East and Israel.
For those in the pro-Israel community, this speech and policy prescription should be a rallying cry for how to move forward, to project the power and commitment of the United States, and to make the world and the Middle East a safer place. Clinton’s record on supporting Israel is as strong as they come, and this speech makes clear that Israel will have no stronger partner than her as the next president.
Peter Lowy is chairman of TRIBE Media Corp., which produces the Jewish Journal. The Journal is committed to presenting views of all relevant candidates in critical races.