Apparently “Iran threatens attack” is the top trending search on Yahoo right now. Here’s a news story of what is going on. Apparently some general in the Iranian air force (Amir Ali Hajizadeh) said that if Israel strikes Iran, Iran will retaliate by attacking American bases in the region.
Iran will do no such thing. The American public does not have the will to engage Iran at the moment. If someone will launch a preventive strike on the Iranian nuclear program, it will be Israel, not the United States. (And, as Israeli officials are finally conceding, this is an unlikely outcome.) But do you know what would give the American public the will to fight? I don’t know, how about an attack on American bases? If Iran initiates on the United States, it undoubtedly ends badly for the Iranians. In turn, anyone who has spent two minutes learning backward induction (see video below) knows how preposterous Iran’s original threat is.
This news story reflects a curious and disturbing trend in American news media. Whenever some crazy person from another country says something inflammatory, it gets reported as though it is serious business, even if it is in no way the actual policy of the regime in charge. Then rhetoric explodes for no particular reason.
The only thing Americans should take away from this news story is that Amir Ali Hajizadeh is a complete idiot.
(Of course, we have some silly people in our country who say silly things, and I am sure that the Iranian media also reports them as though they are serious. This goes both ways.)