Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
The object is political and economic, not military.

The West is extremely vulnerable to an oil price hike, and all Iran has to do is blow some shit up to create that price hike.

It doesn't matter if Iran sinks a carrier, or if Iran has crappy pilots. Rest of World has around a week to prove that Iranian action - whatever it is - is ineffective and that the oil flows as normal.

If it takes more than a week, the West is in serious trouble.

It's impossible to imagine action taking less than a week. The only successful outcome for the West would be total regime change in Iran - and it's unlikely China or Russia would allow that, because China particularly needs access to Iranian oil.

See e.g. this from Bloomberg.

This is not primarily a military problem. It's an economic one. And when Iran has something the rest of the world needs, bombing the country back to the Stone Age makes no sense as a response.

Given that Iraq is still ramping up production and the Saudis are struggling, there's very little elasticity in the oil supply. So turning Tehran into a smoking crater would be a very, very bad idea - even if led to regime change instead of an extended Iraq-style civil war, which I think is the more likely outcome of any attempt to invade or destroy.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Thu Feb 16th, 2012 at 12:33:47 PM EST
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