A conservative news and views blog.

Location: St. Louis, Missouri, United States

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Hornblowing on Hormuz

Timothy Birdnow

S. Fred Singer, physicist and retired U. of Virginia Professor - and notorious Global Warming critic as head of the Science and Environment Policy Project - was a navy man and expert on sea mines. He argues that an Iranian attempt to close the Strait of Hormuz would accomplish little.

Iran continually threatens to close the Strait of Hormuz (I just had a can of Hormuz chili last night, oh, wait, that was Hormel. Either way you get gas...) I do not think they could or would do it.

The use of mines would be the only way to close the strait, and it would be a short-lived closure. I would like to see Iranian speedboats go up against American naval vessels, or Iranian diesel-powered subs take on American depth charges and torpedoes. And we can attack the land based supports as much as we want. Missiles from Iran? Patriot missiles would rain fire on the launch sites, and the ability to damage ships in the Gulf would be limited. No; mines are the only choice for Iran.

Remember, the cost to Iran would be catastrophic, while the rest of the world could absorb it (as Dr. Singer points out in the article). Saudi Arabia could ramp up production. With Canada coming online, and Iran's time to close the strait would be limited - and would likely cause an invasion. It would be a monumentally stupid move on their part. If the West needs Gulf oil, Iran needs the Western dollars even more. They cannot afford to shut down oil production. Also, what will Iraq do? The Iraqis could use a good war to help pull the country together, and I can see the leadership rallying the country to fight Iran.

It is interesting to note that by killing the Keystone XL Pipeline Obama has conveniently redirected Canadian oil to China, and his support for Petrobras (I remember when women's undergarments didn't require petro or any other fuel) by killing offshore drilling in the U.S. and assisting Brazil with loans and other material aid to develop HER offshore oil has opened new sources of oil to China. It's almost as if Obama wants to assure the Chinese that, should Persian Gulf oil be choked off, there will be adequate supply for the Chinese industrial complex (but not our own). One wonders if Obama may be doing something for actual reasons beyond his transformative plans. Of course, skyrocketing oil prices will fit in his plans nicely as Liberals have always wanted to move America into the manageable "sustainable" energy and away from the higher-lifestyle promoting oil and gas.

Russia has plenty of oil, and so that won't be a problem. However, the Russians have a strategic partnership with Iran, part of their little game of Monopoly whereby they want to corner the utility market. They will not be pleased with the collapse of part of their plan. It could get a bit sticky with them.

But in the end Iran's threat is largely empty. Yes, it will trigger sticker shock at the pumps (Dr. Singer estimates the price will rise above $6 a gallon for a very short while) but that price will come back down. And it may well lead to major new fields being developed to stabilize prices in the future.

We needn't fear this threat.

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