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Consulting With My Advisers

The other day I was sitting around with my closest advisers, when, just for the heck of it, we started batting about the idea of going to war with Iran.

“Iran? Isn’t that kind of close to Saudi Arabia?”Tom asked.

Dick googled it up. Sure enough there was Saudi Arabia, just a little bit of Iraq to the left of Iran.

“Iraq? Didn’t they have a big ISIS problem?” Harry volunteered.

“ISIS? Oh yeah, that bunch of Sunni Saddam-era former officers Saudi Arabia supported,” Tom added. As usual he had just a wealth of knowledge. “The Sunnis screwed the Shi’ites before we blew the Sunnis all to shit.”

“Iran helped Iraq get rid of their ISIS problem.”

“Iraq is pretty much Shi’ite now. And Saudi Arabia is what, Wahabbi. What is that, a state religion?”

“Radical Sunnis who detest Shi’ites.”

“Isn’t Iran also Shi’ite?” Dick asked.

“I was just wondering,” I said, “what would happen if when we attack Iran, Iran were to invade Saudi Arabia through Iraq?”

“Didn’t the Saudi king just extract a bunch of money from a number of other members of the royal family?” Harry asked.

“I wonder if those guys are still mad about that?” I asked, knowing how I would feel if someone extracted more than a billion dollars from my trou by force.

“Yup,” said Harry, revealing perhaps more than we wanted to know.

“Do you think those guys who lost billions of dollars have any friends?” I asked. “I mean in the Saudi armed forces.”

“Maybe even relatives,” said Dick.

“Perhaps their relatives wouldn’t mind a soupçonof regime change in their own back yard?” Harry chimed in with one of his wild speculations. “Not as much unity there as one might hope for in times of war.”

Everybody agreed on the potential lack of elanin the Saudi royal family.

“Why invade?” I tossed out. “ Why not just sink a few tankers in the Straits of Hormuz. The shipping lanes are only two miles wide. Less than a hundred meters deep. A guy with a rocket propelled grenade launcher camped on the shore could sink an oil tanker. A VLCC tanker is over 400 meters long. That’s a quarter of a mile. Pretty hard to miss. Wouldn’t take long to clog up the sea lanes with rotting hulks.”

“18 million barrels a day, most of it from Saudi Arabia. More than 20 percent of the world’s supply passes through those Straits.”

“One tanker is about $100,000,000 at today’s prices, “ Dick added. “After one sank no one would insure tankers going through the Straits of Hormuz and without insurance no tankers. Oil revenues for Saudi Arabia would dry up.” Tom said. “But they’ve got nothing else.”

We all agreed that Saudi Arabia might collapse like a frog whose insides had been liquefied and then digested by an Epomislarva.

“Big bonanza for Russia,”

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Michael Doliner studied with Hannah Arendt at the University of Chicago and has taught at Valparaiso University and Ithaca College.

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