Via Molten Eagle
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Unfortunately the real threat from the Iranian theocracy has nothing to do with its Navy (if we could only be so lucky).
The real threat is that by using a nuclear weapon as a deterrent to retaliation (either economic or military) they can extend and increase their funding of terrorism with impunity. Unlike the terrorism of Anarchism (with a big A from the late 1800's and early 1900's) or even the terrorism of the IRA the Iranian terrorism has a realistically achievable goal (indeed it has been quite effective in Lebanon). That goal is the Dhimmification of non Muslim countries and reduction in prominence of non Shia Islamic Theocracies relative to Iran itself. If we (Europe and the US) are lucky the latter will take precedence but I wouldn't count on it. Both of these processes have already started even without the bomb as a deterrent to retaliation. They will only escalate (substantially) if they publicly get the bomb (it is remotely possible that they already have it which is why the kid gloves are on).
Europeans will be at the greatest risk in terms of substantial change to their existing environment in this scenario. With their large and demographically monolithic Islamic communities they are ideal breeding grounds for this kind of strategy. At this point these communities lean toward other regional variants of the belief system but I suspect that would change if there is less restricted actions on Iran's part. Even without specific belief changes (which are unlikely) alliances, actions (in the form of increased aggression to the European indigenous population) and meme systems can change. In many cases Europeans are already being forced to alter their liberal belief systems to avoid violence or the threat of violence. Imagine if they didn't have the ability to stop funding and intentional state action that was intended to facilitate this violence. The tilt point isn't that far aways so something has to be done soon or the only two alternatives are extreme levels of violence or functional Dhimmi status (probably coupled with extreme violence to maintain it).
Obviously other countries in the region with Iran are also at great risk. I am somewhat surprised they are not taking fairly aggressive action right now. They are clearly the most likely to be subject to aggressive military and terror funded actions. Indeed some of them such as Lebanon already are and frankly loosing the battle.
Until recently countries that achieved nuclear weapons have to a certain extent become more mature in their actions. They were less likely to go to open war with their neighbors, they begin reigning back their clandestine activities (especially with other nuclear powers) and in general they have behaved in a more globally mature fashion. I don't know if the is part of MAD or if it is just the ultimate realization of the terrible possibilities and responsibilities attendant with nuclear weapons but it does seem to be true. Although I wouldn't have predicted it this has even occurred with India and Pakistan. Unfortunately even with the maturity and sophistication of the Persian society as a whole with its current leadership I think this pattern is very unlikely in Iran.
Now that I think of it leadership might be the key. Russia, the US, France and China have all had periods of aggression as a Nuclear power even if that aggression might have been muted compared to pre nuclear levels. Right now the political and theocratic leadership in Iran does not inspire me with confidence in their ability to be mature.
The real question is what are the regional powers and European powers (who are at the most risk) going to do about it. The US has chosen to trade (intentionally or not) military strategic advantage (in the form of ownership of the crossroads in Iraq) for political strategic advantage so we are now unable to realistically respond to the threat. Sun Tzu says that seizing the remote crossroads is best done politically so perhaps this was an error. On the other hand we are not one of the countries at greatest risk of a true loss of our identity here.
I suppose we will see how this will play out.
Sorry for the depressing start of the day.
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