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War with Iran? Consult history.

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Examples of military miscalculation are all too numerous. Hitler was so sure the Nazis would take Leningrad that he had invitations printed up for a victory banquet at a hotel there. Recall, too, the promised light at the end of the tunnel for the American victory in Vietnam.

And consider the Soviets’ shock at seeing their entire country collapse three years after they pulled out of Afghanistan – a costly humiliation that greatly contributed to the demise of the USSR.

Opportunities for miscalculation in an Iranian conflict are huge, including the risk that the US or Israel might fail to erase a nuclear program because it’s so well hidden. Sabotage, cyber war, and conflict could easily spread from Iran to the region and to US and Israeli installations around the world.

Tehran has the least room to maneuver, which may explain its audacity, with bluster substituting for action. Its anxiety after a steep fall in its currency value only makes Iran’s situation more desperate and perhaps dangerous.

Iranian threats to close the strait are probably disingenuous, certainly illegal, and most likely counter-productive. Their consequence may turn potential allies like China – which relies on Iranian oil – against them.

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