Karl Gallagher (libertarianhawk) wrote,
Karl Gallagher

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Reverse Strategy

The WSJ has an article about Iran's oil minister talking nice, instead of all those embargo threats the country had been making. That's their interpretation. To me it sounds like Nice economy you got there. Be a shame if something happened to it. In short, they've got our pump prices hostage and are prepared to shoot them through the roof if we try to stop their nuke development program.

One of my favorite SF heroes found an a simple approach to an analogous problem.
"Cavilo!" he shouted. "Deactivate your weapons and freeze, or I'll blow Gregor to atoms!"
[The enemy was] bereft of words; bereft, for precious seconds, of reactions. Because, of course, Miles had just stolen her opening line. . . . It was a desperate ploy. Miles had judged the hostage-problem logically insoluble; therefore, clearly the only thing to do was make it Cavilo's problem instead of his own.
The Iran equivalent would be to cut off their oil exports. This could be a threat to make them give up their uranium centrifuges. Or we could just bomb the port facilities and eliminate their cash flow. That'd have a bunch of strategic benefits for us. The mullahs would no longer have the spare cash to subsidize terrorists in Iraq, Lebanon, and elsewhere. They might not even have enough to keep their nuke program going. Thousands of centrifuges tended by skilled technicians can't be maintained on pocket change. The biggest impact might be on Iran's internal politics. The theocracy has stayed in power by bribing supporters. If they can't afford that any more they might be pushed aside, possibly by the now-figurehead elected government.

Of course, cutting off a chunk of world oil production would hurt us. We'd be looking at $4 or $5 a gallon gasoline (higher for Californians). I'd call it a war tax.
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