Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Dire Straits

It's buried in this Vox piece, but I think that every time some idiot like Senator Cotton advocates attacking Iran and makes it seem like it would be a walk in the park, he should be asked what the U.S. should do to avoid a worldwide economic collapse if Iran closes the Strait of Hormuz (by filling it with mines) and one-fifth of the world oil supply suddenly goes off the market.

That's the thing. The U.S. has the capability of doing tremendous damage to Iran. But Iran has the capacity to do tremendous damage to the U.S. and the rest of the world just by virtue of geography. Because of the world economy's dependence on oil, Iran effectively has an economic doomsday weapon and there is little in the short term that anyone could do to stop them from using it.

The fact that Iran has not ever pulled that particular trigger is also pretty good evidence that its government is comprised of rational actors and not mindless religious zealots dedicated to evil for its own sake.