Iran threats sound too familiar for American defense

Run for the hills! Iran has nuclear weapons and is only hours away from destroying the United States, overthrowing our government and forcing the entire country to practice Sharia law or to be publicly executed! They’re going to invade Israel, steal all of Israel’s nuclear weapons and then cut off the United States’ supply of oil!

Does anyone actually believe this bologna? Iran is a country roughly the size of Alaska, with an economy slightly smaller than Norway. The only important allies of Iran are China and Russia, both of which rely more on the U.S. than they do on Iran. The U.S. has an arsenal of over 5,000 nuclear weapons, an economy that is roughly 30 times larger and the most advanced military technology in the world. If the U.S. had the desire to, we could vaporize the entire city of Tehran within a matter of minutes and make it look like someone else did it. Iran’s missiles can’t even make it out of the Middle East.

Of course, you’ve heard the argument that Iran would sell nuclear weapons to terrorists, and the terrorists would then use the nukes against the U.S. I would buy that logic too if it weren’t for the fact that this threat is so old. When North Korea got nuclear weapons, everyone worried that they would immediately use them or sell them, which didn’t happen. When Iraq was thought to have “weapons of mass destruction”, the same threat was made. And back during the Cold War there was no end of alarmists who warned that the Soviets could sneak a nuclear bomb through our borders. The bottom line is that you have a higher likelihood to die in a car crash tomorrow than Iran has of ever getting a nuclear weapon into the U.S.

Then I’ve heard the lovely argument of, “But Ahmadinejad is crazy! As long as he’s in charge of Iran we can’t trust them because he wants nuclear weapons!” Yes, he’s probably out of his mind. Yes, he probably wants nuclear weapons. But this was all true of Saddam Hussein as well. Nuclear weapon development is inherently expensive and Iran does not have a lot to gain from it. We could go charging into Iran with guns blazing, like in Iraq, and very well find ourselves in another Middle East quagmire, with no Weapons of Mass Destruction to be found.

But what about Israel? They’re at the mercy of Iran, aren’t they? Well, not really. Israel has a very strong alliance with the U.S., as well as a handful of other powerful countries, making them untouchable by anyone in the Middle East. When Ahmadinejad claims that Israel should be wiped off the map, he’s not doing anything more than buying votes. It’s like Canadian politicians saying, “If re-elected, I’ll make sure the U.S. stops dumping acid rain on us.” It’s not going to happen, simply because nobody in the U.S. is frightened of Canada. And nobody in Israel should be frightened of Iran. After all, it is widely believed that Israel has had its own nuclear arsenal for some time now. And unlike the U.S., Israel did not sign the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

Could trouble in Iran affect gas prices? Absolutely. Could it make Middle East diplomacy a lot tougher? Definitely. Will Iran use the threat of nuclear capabilities to try to further its agenda? I’d be surprised if they didn’t. Are they going to start a world war? No, and if you believe differently, I’d like to sell you a bridge.