Give Praise to Fracking?
In 2013, when President Obama sent forces to help Iraqi Kurds repel Islamic State, disapproving commentators talked oil “front and center” as the motivating force. As Holman Jenkins in the WSJ reports, “A writer at the New Republic assured readers that oil lies near the center of American motives for intervention.”
Iran’s Fading Oil Impact
“Events are in the driver’s seat, but don’t hold your breath for the regional explosion that some are predicting,” continues Mr. Jenkins.
By every account, the U.S. had Soleimani in its sights many times over the years but concern for wider consequences always stayed its trigger finger until now. Soleimani was responsible for outrages around the world. He was responsible for the deaths of hundreds of Americans in Iraq. In the past decade, he was the chief proponent of Iran’s expanding proxy wars in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Yemen and the Gaza Strip.
Iranian leaders in decades past could calculate that terrorist actions and oil disruptions aimed at third-party countries would be effective ways to pressure a U.S. president. Less so now.
President Trump, through no particular virtue of his own, just doesn’t need to care as much as his predecessors did. Add his temperamental indifference to allies and the outside world.
Things Not Going Well in Iran
Francis Menton’s charts in the Manhattan Contrarian show that Iran’s oil production has fallen about in half over the past year – “a disaster for a country that depends on oil production for most of its export earnings and government budget.”
Acknowledging that he might be wrong, Mr. Jenkins doesn’t see that Iran “has many tricks up its sleeve that would come close to damaging the U.S.” as much as Iran would damage itself.