GorT’s imaginary father, Thomas Sowell,* is imagining some nightmare scenarios for the American-Iranian clash we’re staggering involuntarily towards. And when I say nightmares, I mean my literal waking nightmare of our natal Washington vanishing in a shockwave and fireball.
It took only two nuclear bombs to get Japan to surrender — and the Japanese of that era were far tougher than most Americans today. Just one bomb — dropped on New York, Chicago, or Los Angeles — might be enough to get us to surrender.
If we are still made of sterner stuff than it looks like, then it might take two or maybe even three or four nuclear bombs, but we will surrender.
It doesn’t matter if we retaliate and kill millions of innocent Iranian civilians — at least it will not matter to the fanatics in charge of Iran or the fanatics in charge of the international terrorist organizations that Iran supplies.
Ultimately, it all comes down to who is willing to die and who is not.
Your Volgi isn’t quite so pessimistic, but even a slightly-less horrific scenario—say an Iranian-launched ballistic missile which, thanks to Chinese and Russian advice, detonates above Chicago and EMPs the U.S. electrical grid—is terrifying. There’s not a heck of a lot we can do to change the Iranians’ intentions, only deter them. I don’t believe that the threat of destroying Iran is as vain as Sowell does. The Islamic Republic, whatever its eschatological underpinnings and however sincere the belief of a faction of its leadership in them, has never conducted itself in the reckless fashion of, say, Saddam’s Iraq, with its profoundly miscalculated invasions of two of its neighbors. The Persian game is always long and characterized by indirection. While the mullahs may certainly be willing to fight to the last Hezbollahi or Gazan, and while they are certainly constantly engaged in the exporting of terrorism and attempts to destabilize most of their neighbors, they conduct themselves in a recognizably Machiavellian fashion. I strongly suspect that a secret diplomatic mission that convincingly stated, “Any unexplained nuclear ‘event’ in the U.S. immediately means that Iran becomes a hot, smoking sheet of glass from the Caspian to the Gulf,” would likely give us the kind of Cold War deterrence that’d take the nuke threat away from us. (Israel’s a whole other question, and of course we’d still be faced with the full array of Iranian proxy warfare that we see today).
The question I’ve always had about the incoming administration and their advertised negotiations-first,-second,-and-third strategy might not give the appearance of weakness which leads them to believe that now is the moment to strike with relative impunity.
Also, contra Sowell, I also think that if we lose a city, it’ll be 9/11 times a thousand, and it’ll last longer rather than devolving into partisan nonsense. Especially with a Democrat in office. Republicans will rally ’round the flag; a lot of today’s Democratic pols have shown a disturbing tendency to play the deadly serious worlds of foreign and military policy as chips at the domestic table. Could the GOP give into such a temptation? Maybe, but I haven’t seen much evidence of it yet, and its party generally isn’t home to those who remember “stopping the war in Vietnam” as their generation’s greatest achievement. The GOP split on Clinton‘s Bosnian intervention, along pretty much traditional isolationist-vs.-interventionist lines, rather than “Clinton’s fer it, so we’re agin’ it.” But you never know.
Pray we never find out.
St. Isabel de Aragão, Reinha de Portugal, orem por nós.
St. Maruthas, patron of Iran, pray for us.
*Actually, GorT’s real dad is sort of a Thomas Sowell with engineering cred.
Don’t ask impertinent questions like that jackass Adept Lu.