Friday, May 21, 2010

May 18, 2010

As the world considers the prospect of a nuclear armed Iran, there is a lot of chatter not only among pundits but also among the national security establishment about our response. Many say that sanctions are ineffective to date and unlikely to cause Iran to give up its nuclear ambitions in the future. There is also a lot of discussion about the “military option” remaining on the table.

The problem with the public discussion of the “military option” to date is what is not being discussed. No one is asking about or talking about the Iranian response or its effect on the world and the Middle East economically, diplomatically or militarily.

The discussion implies that Iran will do nothing. However, a likely Iranian response might include closing shipping in the Straits of Hormuz, thus causing the price of oil to move from its current $75 per barrel to $200 plus per barrel, leading to a recession if not a depression. Iran could also have Hamas, Hezbollah and other allied terrorist organizations attack soft U.S. targets around the world to include those on U.S. soil. These targets could include European and Middle Eastern allies, leading to a much broader Middle East war. It will also hurt U.S. relations with the Muslim world if we were to attack or invade a third Muslim nation in a ten-year period. Finally, with the national debt soaring, can we afford it and will the Chinese government continue to be our banker if we use the money we borrow from them to have their cost of oil more than double?

Before we take Senator John McCain’s advice to “pull the trigger,” rational, responsible people should think through the consequences of their actions and recognize the well-known military rule…”The enemy has a vote.”

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