Frightening Scenario: War with Iran

The loss of Iranian supply and the already stretched nature of production in the Arab world and elsewhere means prices of $150 per barrel are easily imaginable.

Published: 27-Jan-2006

THE UNIMAGINABLE but ultimately inescapable truth is that we are going to have to get ready for war with Iran. Being of a free-speaking, free-thinking disposition, we generally find in the West that hand-wringing, finger-pointing and second-guessing come more easily to us than cold, strategic thinking. Confronted with nightmarish perils we instinctively choose to seize the opportunity to blame each other, cursing our domestic opponents for the situation they’ve put us in.

The rapidly intensifying crisis with regard to Iran exemplifies the phenomenon. On the right, it is said that the decision to let the Europeans play nuclear footsie with the mullahs in Iran for more than two years was a terrible blunder. Pacifist evasion is what the world has come to expect from continental Europe, but the decision by Condoleezza Rice, the US Secretary of State, to become an enabler to their procrastinations was of a different order of strategic error. An emboldened Tehran seized the chance to play them all along while advancing its ambitions in great leaps.

On the left the hands are being wrung over Iraq. It is argued that the decision to invade the wrong country has made our situation intolerably worse. Iran was always the bigger threat. While we were chasing phantom nuclear weapons in Mesopotamia, next door Iran was busy building real ones. Now we are enfeebled, militarily and politically, our diplomatic tools blunted beyond repair by the errors in Iraq.


Bombed oil tanks pollute much of the coastline of Lebanon and Syria. Photo of polluted Byblos harbor by Jeff Pflueger.


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