Iran is no mortal threat to the U.S.
There's a lot that I'm confused about in Mark Helprin's WSJ piece on the "mortal" threat that Iran poses to the U.S., but it doesn't help that it opens with a non-sequitor:
To assume that Iran will not close the Strait of Hormuz is to assume that primitive religious fanatics will perform cost-benefit analyses the way they are done at Wharton. They won't, especially if the oil that is their life's blood is threatened.
So Iran views oil as so important to their economy that in response to sanctions they would take it all off the market? That's ridiculous on its face. If they are indeed primitive religious fanatics, then what does it matter that their "life blood" is threatened? Helprin tries to build his entire argument around the fact that Iran would be immune to threats of retaliation but if that were so, then they wouldn't care about the economic deprivation caused by sanctions.
Helprin goes on to suggest that there is a 1-in-20 chance that Iran would launch a nuclear weapon at the United States without providing a scintilla of evidence or argument why this would be so. No one need think the best of the Islamic Republic to understand that even belligerent, terror-sponsoring states can have an appreciation for limits.
Stepping back, you have to marvel at where we find ourselves. The United States is orders of magnitude more powerful than Iran, has conventional and nuclear military forces that could destroy Iran several hundred times over, devotes more money to its defense every year than the entire GDP of Iran and yet in the up-is-down world of some defense analysts, we are the ones in "mortal danger." You have to wonder why we even bother devoting $500 billion a year to defense if it can't even buy Helprin & company a peaceful night's sleep.