Friday, December 28, 2007

Iran Does Not Have To Nuke Israel In Order To Destroy It

Over at The Corner today, there is an ongoing discussion of the Iranian nuclear threat. Noah Pollak puts in his 2 cents on why Iran will not have to fire nuclear missiles to destroy Israel:
...The reason is that they wouldn't need to do that to accomplish the destruction of Israel. The Jewish state already has a problem in the number of its citizens who tire of the warfare, terrorism, and Arab hatred that are regular features of life in Israel. Hundreds of thousands of Israelis live abroad, many permanently, because they seek a "normal life," and many Jews will never immigrate to Israel exactly because of the absence of such a life. All of this is only in the face of Palestinian and Hezbollah terrorists who kill with crude weapons. Now imagine those groups with the support of a nuclear patron. Imagine daily life in Israel conducted under the constant threat — the Iranians would surely take every opportunity to remind Israelis — of nuclear annihilation.

The Iranians are probably smart enough to know that if they're patient, nothing so dramatic as nuclear war will be necessary. Simply by possessing a nuclear capability and regularly threatening to use it or supply it to its proxies, Iran will accomplish the psychological and economic attrition of Israel. This goal will be achieved without firing a shot — or at least without full-scale war.
Pollak sees the Iranian threat to the US similarly as one not of direct attack but more of attrition and undercutting US interests. On that point, John Derbyshire rejoins:
...But suppose Iran were to attain her hegemonic ambition. This will hurt the U.S.A. … how? You say it would be putting "the economic health of the nation in Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's hands." How would it do that? Because Iran would control ME oil and refuse to sell it to us? Oil markets don't, and in fact couldn't, work like that. World oil production will anyway soon begin to decline. Cheap oil is a thing of the past. "Let's declare war against Iran so we can prolong the cheap-oil fantasy for a few more years" — not, in my opinion, a very inspiring slogan.

As for "the security architecture in the Middle East that America has enforced, however shakily, for decades," well, I think "shakily" is putting it very kindly. The ten-year Iran-Iraq war? The replacing of Soviet puppet rule in Afghanistan by jihadists? Three Arab-Israeli wars? Two gulf wars? "Shakily"? I would say.

If, as seems to be the case, Muslim Middle Easterners are addicted to mayhem, it seems to me we should stay out of their countries, except for monitory attacks on them — ferocious but brief — in retaliation for anything they do to us or our interests.

Given the rivalries and hatreds of the ME, I doubt a stable Iranian hegemony is possible. If it is possible, it's something we'll learn to live with, and no direct threat to the U.S.A. that I can see.
With that kind of thinking, and it is not easy to dispute it, Israel really is alone against Iran.

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