And no, I’m not talking about Iran:

The US vowed to defend Israel and its other allies in the Gulf, as Iran carried out its second ballistic missile test in two days yesterday.

Here’s the metric. The Israeli military, which has roughly par equipment with the US military, could not shut down even 5% of Hezbollah’s strategic missile capability after a month of air war, plus a partial ground incursion. Southern Lebanon is a lot smaller than Iran. A lot, lot smaller.

Hezbollah even managed to badly damage an Israeli warship, but it apparently didn’t have more of those types of missiles. In fact, in general, Hezbollah did not have Iran’s most advanced missiles. Iran, of course, does.

If Iran wants to shut down the Strait of Hormuz it can, and I see very little the US can do about it. If the President orders the navy into the Strait there is a real chance of serious naval losses, possibly even including an aircraft carrier. This is a bad place for a deep water navy like the US’s to fight. And all Iran has to do is not destroy every tanker, but make going through the Strait dangerous enough that naval insurance becomes impossible to buy. At that point the US and other countries either start grabbing foreign flagged ships (remember, merchant marines these days are mostly flagged under countries like Panama) and militarizing them, or it does without all that oil

Which is to say, the US finds itself in a very nasty war with a huge oil spike and it does not have a military solution. If Israel couldn’t take out a much smaller number of missile launchers hidden in a much smaller area, why exactly would the US think it can take out more in a larger area?

Iran isn’t insane. They won’t declare war on Israel or the US. And if a war breaks out it’ll go much worse for them than for the US. But the US will still be devestated. This won’t be the Iraq war. It won’t take years for the price of oil to quintuple or more, it’ll happen overnight. Indeed, there will probably be actual real physical shortages.

I’m not one who believes violence is never the solution. Sometimes violence is a solution; sometimes violence is even the best solution.

This ain’t one of those times.

Ian Welsh

Ian Welsh

Ian Welsh was the Managing Editor of FireDogLake and the Agonist. His work has also appeared at Huffington Post, Alternet, and Truthout, as well as the now defunct Blogging of the President (BOPNews). In Canada his work has appeared in and BlogsCanada. He is also a social media strategy consultant and currently lives in Toronto.

His homeblog is at