by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Victor Davis Hanson explains at National Review Online why Iran would be unwise to escalate its clash with the United States.
After losing its top strategist, military commander, and arch-terrorist, Qasem Soleimani, the Iranian theocracy is weighing responses.
One, Iran can quiet down and cease military provocations. …
… The chances, however, for such a logical and passive readjustment by Iran are nil.
Iran believes that Trump’s beefed-up sanctions have all but destroyed its economy and could now extend to secondary boycotts of nations trading with Iran. U.S. sanctions have also squeezed Iranian expeditionary efforts to forge a permanent hegemony and a Shiite crescent extending to the Mediterranean.
If unchecked, American economic pressure could eventually lead to a popular rebellion that would topple the theocracy. In sum, a return to the status quo is unlikely.
Two, Iran can agree to reenter talks about its nuclear program and offer a few concessions. …
… Three, Iran can escalate its military operations and its use of terrorist surrogates. The death of Soleimani is Iran’s most grievous setback in decades, and Iran seeks vengeance. …
… Yet this choice is also unlikely.
The U.S. would not have to invade Iran to end it as a modern state. A strike against the U.S. or its overseas military installations would result in a devastating response. The theocracy knows that in hours, U.S. air power could take out all of Iran’s oil refineries, power stations, and military bases while suffering few if any causalities.
Given U.S. oil independence and the global adjustments to existing sanctions on Iranian oil, the near-permanent loss of Iran’s oil would not greatly damage the world economy.
Iran will bluster and threaten, but waging an all-out war with the U.S. would be suicidal, and Iran knows it.