Best Defense
Thomas E. Ricks' daily take on national security.

The global fallout we’d face from an Israeli strike against Iran’s nuke plants

Browsing Jeffrey Goldberg’s Atlantic Monthly article on a possible Israeli strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities, I thought once again that the more Israeli officials chat with journalists about it, the less likely I think it is to happen. But then I got a note from retired Army Col. Peter Mansoor, formerly a brigade commander in ...

By , a former contributing editor to Foreign Policy.
Uriel Sinai/Getty Images
Uriel Sinai/Getty Images
Uriel Sinai/Getty Images

Browsing Jeffrey Goldberg's Atlantic Monthly article on a possible Israeli strike on Iran's nuclear facilities, I thought once again that the more Israeli officials chat with journalists about it, the less likely I think it is to happen.

Browsing Jeffrey Goldberg’s Atlantic Monthly article on a possible Israeli strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities, I thought once again that the more Israeli officials chat with journalists about it, the less likely I think it is to happen.

But then I got a note from retired Army Col. Peter Mansoor, formerly a brigade commander in Iraq, then a close advisor to Gen. Petraeus, and now a history professor at Ohio State, home of one of the best military history programs in the country. And I began to worry.  

By Peter Mansoor
Best Defense guest columnist

Whether it is Israel or the United States that attacks Iranian nuclear facilities, the Iranians will respond by trying to close the Straits of Hormuz and unleashing terror attacks in the ME and around the world. In the event of an attack, the United States will have to destroy Iran’s capacity to close the straits, which means destroying their anti-ship missile batteries, submarines, aircraft, and the assortment of small boats and mine layers that can wreak havoc on Gulf shipping. Israel will no doubt have to invade southern Lebanon again to suppress the inevitable barrage of missiles from Hezbollah. The West will have to go on high alert against terror attacks.

The oil shock alone will no doubt spiral the West into a double dip recession/depression.

Not a pretty picture to contemplate, but a likely scenario. Despite the crowd of academics in the United States that says we can live with an Iranian bomb, Israel will not allow the Iranians to go nuclear — at least, not while a Holocaust denier who has made pointed threats against the Jewish state remains in power.

Thomas E. Ricks is a former contributing editor to Foreign Policy. Twitter: @tomricks1

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