Last night, I sat next to a former foreign minister of a major nation at a small dinner and discussion which focused heavily on Iran and Middle East issues.
This foreign minister stated that Iran’s Supreme Religious Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei believed that western democracies would not tolerate $140 a barrel for oil — and that would be the probable price level if Iran was attacked. This belief combined with Iran’s perception of American weakness right now is driving much of Iran’s brinkmanship.
The foreign minster responded to Khamenei that he underestimated what democracies were willing to endure if pushed. And that Americans paying $8 or $9 per gallon at the pump could be absorbed, painful as it would be.
Energy Secretary Sam Bodman is saying that it will take three years for Americans to see gas prices fall again.
But that’s if we don’t bomb Iran, don’t create an axis of oil states allied with Russia and China against America, and don’t somehow disrupt oil flow from Venezuela.
What I learned from this foreign minister last night and a room full of extremely smart people is that there are forces escalating America’s and Iran’s tensions — and a single serious miscalculation could dramatically alter America’s position in the world — and yet miscalculations are already abounding.
– Steve Clemons