Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Victor Davis Hanson Innoculates Us Against The Inevitable

VDH, writing on NRO, gives us the 411 on what to expect from the Al-Democratsa Martyrs Brigade once we light those Iranian suckers up:

Politically, the administration would have to vie with CNN’s daily live feeds of collateral damage that might entail killed Iranian girls and boys, maimed innocents, and street-side reporters who thrust microphones into stretchers of civilian dead. The Europeans’ and American Left’s slurs of empire and hegemony would only grow.

We remember the “quagmire” hysteria that followed week three in Afghanistan, and the sandstorm “pause” that prompted cries that we had lost Iraq. All that would be child’s play compared to an Iranian war, as retired generals and investigative reporters haggled every night on cable news over how many reactor sites were still left to go. So take for granted that we would be saturated by day four of the bombing with al Jazeera’s harangues, perhaps a downed and blindfolded pilot or two paraded on television, some gruesome footage of arms and legs in Tehran’s streets, and the usual Nancy Pelosi and Barbara Boxer outtakes.

VDH is surely in constant, grueling pain as the weight of his own gravitas crushes relentlessly against his fragile mortal skeleton. Still, the threat he discusses is (finally!) a real one, and he makes some good points:

Economically, we should factor in the real possibility that Iranian oil might be off the global market, and prepare — we have been here before with the Iranian embargo of 1979 — for colossal gasoline price hikes. This should also be a reminder that Ahmadinejad, Saddam, Hugo Chavez, and an ascendant and increasingly undemocratic Putin all had in common both petrodollar largess and desperate Western, Chinese, and Indian importers willing to overlook almost anything to slake their thirst. Unless we develop an energy policy that collapses the global oil price, for the next half-century expect every few years something far creepier than the Saudi Royals and Col. Moammar Gadhafi to threaten the world order.

(Ironically, the only energy policy that could possibly collapse the "global oil price" would probably be a war and its price shocks, which would drastically increase the price of oil in the mid-term and hopefully lead to the development of non-petroleum based fuel technologies in the long-term.)

Faced with the horrifying possibility that (more) religious zealots might soon have access to nuclear weapons, what is the proper response? Hanson breaks with his neocon brethren here by making no allusions whatsoever to the overtime production of candy and red carpets in the targeted country, and you have to credit him for his honesty on that count. My issue with VDH and his ilk is not so much their prescriptions, but rather the fairly obvious fact that most of them don't know anything about the Middle East. It's unfashionable among Bush supporters to make this claim--what with the administration's emphasis on a goofy neo-Marxist idea of historical destiny (page 7) to light their way in international affairs--but it really is better to go into an undertaking when you know what the hell you're doing.

In this situation, for example, I could be persuaded that it's going to take military action to avoid a nuclear-armed Iran. The problem is that I couldn't be easily persuaded of it by the Bush administration because I know they don't take facts into consideration as much as "gut instincts" or fairytale wishes about turning the Middle East into a western-style democracy. I really am disturbed that a situation which might require a military solution will have to be dealt with by an administration that has screwed up military matters so seriously and repeatedly, and shows no signs of an ability to take good advice when it's offered to them.


Blogger Germanicu$ said...

I concur (conquer?). Personally I am not convinced that a military solution is necessary - but if it is, let Russia do it. They haven't screwed up a military intervention for a few years - it's their turn.

But what about the carrot? Maybe if Iran was being considered for EU membership, they'd be incentivized to clean up their act.

2:52 PM  

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