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There seems no end to the debate on whether an attack on Iran is justified, possible, or a despicably poor idea.Some opinions are worth paying attention to, like Niall Ferguson’s.
Ferguson is a senior fellow at Stanford’s Hoover Institute, a resident faculty member of the Minda de Gunzburg centre for European Studies, and a Senior Research Fellow of Jesus College, Oxford University.
He’s got a new piece out today at The Daily Beast where he lays out five common arguments made against an attack, and one-by-one lays them to waste.
- The Iranians will shut the Strait of Hormuz: No way, Ferguson says. Not with two aircraft carriers, the USS Abraham Lincoln, and the Carl Vincen already in the gulf and a third reportedly on the way.
- All Muslim countries will unite in retaliation: The Sunni majority may weakly decry an attack, but Ferguson says, they’ll be as relieved as everyone else at a non-nuclear Iran.
- Higher oil prices: Oil prices are down now, and while an Iran attack will bump them up, the Saudis have already agreed to pump more to keep prices moderated.
- Iran will only get stronger: Military humiliations of the magnitude that will be suffered by the Iranian regime rarely survive. Ferguson mentions Saddam, an exception after Gulf War I, but we know how that turned out.
- A nuclear armed Iran is not a great threat: Weapons of mass destruction will not compel Tehran’s regime to act any more rationally. Fergusan calls Iranian nukes a “Lethal lever” in the hands of an “empire of extortion.”
Ferguson concludes his case by mentioning that the potential war with Iran is a lesser evil than appeasement.
“It feels,” he concludes, “like the eve of some creative destruction.” Much like it must have felt in the months before the 1967 Six Day War when Israel launched its wildly successful Egyptian assault.
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