As soon as we learned that Iran was launching rockets at Iraq, presumably to attack US military personnel stationed in that country, we had good reason to be afraid. We did not know if there would be casualties and, if so, how many; we could reasonably assume that if Iran's armed forces killed many Americans, some kind of US counterattack would be launched, and it was not difficult to imagine a scenario of increased attacks from both sides turning into total war.
Fortunately, we discovered within hours that there were no deaths. Iran launched what appears to have been a symbolic response to the execution of General Qasem Suleimani, and the country's state press told the public that it had killed 80 Americans.
Still, immediately after Suleimani's death, many people who should probably be more enlightened declared on social media that World War III was near. And although the major media institutions did not agree with this assessment, they still wrote articles about the fears expressed on social media.
O McClatchy News wrote an article entitled: "Is the United States on its way to World War III? Here's what experts say while Twitter fears the worst" – although, fortunately, the article stated early on, "although a war on that scale is unlikely According to experts, the actions put the US on a new climbing path. "
Molly Roberts of the Washington post, wrote: "The inaugural meme of the beginning decade is about nothing less than the annihilation of humanity. The mushroom-shaped clouds that we know from pop culture dominate the internet and are now accompanied by photos with captions about how the air attack of the USA last week that killed the commander of the Iranian Quds Force Qasem Suleimani will cause a global catastrophe. With the hashtag World War III ".
At CNN, Richard Galant wrote: "In the hours after the Pentagon's announcement of the execution of Iranian major general Qasem Suleimani on Thursday, 'World War III' was one of the most talked about topics on Twitter. Traffic to the US Selective Service website, the agency that would be responsible for any eventual military recruitment, increased so much that the site went down ".
Today is January 15th and, fortunately, the world is not, so far, consumed by a terrible war. The situation in relation to Iran is undoubtedly tense, and there is still the possibility that Iran's mullahs will attack us through a terrorist proxy group, in our country or abroad. But the Iranian regime is currently facing furious protests over the accidental crash of the Ukrainian plane. This morning, there is no news about Iran on the front page of the New York Times or the Washington Post. The Wall Street Journal has an article about Germany, France and the United Kingdom about to impose new sanctions on Iran. Not only did World War III not come, the conflict practically disappeared from the news cycle.
A US war with Iran would be bad, but it would not be World War III. The Iranian regime has no allies willing to fight on its behalf – and it is fair to imagine that many traditional US allies would choose to help by coordinating logistics away from the front. Even if fighting alone, the United States would probably be able to crush the military and Iran's regime from air, sea and cyberspace. After the American experiences in Afghanistan and Iraq, you would have to imagine a truly awful set of circumstances that would precipitate a large-scale US invasion of Iran. No one in the US government is looking forward to becoming an occupying power and starting over. the process of nation building.
I know, I know: "Trump is crazy and unpredictable, you never know what he can do." But even on his worst day, President Trump doesn't want to be dragged into a bloody war with Iran. And despite all the warmongering rhetoric and shouts of "death to America!", It seems that the Iranian regime doesn't want to follow either. this way.
Social media posts are "the voices of the crowd," a cacophony of loud, impulsive reactions that often include overreactions. I would not say that they are not news and should not appear in the newspapers. But just because so many people are expressing publicly that they are afraid that World War III will start does not mean that World War III will start.
© 2020 National Review. Posted with permission. Original in English