Walter G. Wasser

The Looming Threat: Iran’s Danger to Israel

Introduction: In a recent podcast episode, Victor Davis Hanson, a renowned classicist and political commentator, delves into the terrifying potential of modern-day annihilation events. Hanson’s insights are timely, considering the escalating geopolitical tensions and historical parallels he draws in his latest book, The End of Everything: How Wars Descend into Annihilation. This discussion is not just about ancient history but about understanding the risks we face today.

Understanding the Threat: Hanson highlights that while China possesses around 1,000 deliverable nuclear weapons compared to the US’s 5,500, the real danger lies in conventional military capabilities. Should China decide to take Taiwan, it would be a costly endeavor, but likely successful. Hanson emphasizes the vulnerability of US naval forces in such a scenario, where China’s arsenal of surface-to-ship missiles and drones could potentially decimate a carrier group in the Taiwan Strait within minutes. This raises critical questions: What would be the US response? What would Russia, India, and North Korea do?

The Iranian Risk to Israel: One of the most pressing threats highlighted by Hanson is the existential risk posed to Israel by Iran. Iran has repeatedly expressed its desire to see Israel destroyed, and with its advancing nuclear program, this threat becomes increasingly tangible. Hanson discusses how Iran views Israel as a “one-bomb state,” suggesting that even a limited nuclear strike could have catastrophic consequences. This rhetoric is not merely bluster; it reflects a real and present danger that Israel faces daily.

Historical Context: Hanson’s book explores historical cases of complete annihilation, such as Alexander the Great’s destruction of Thebes and the annihilation of the Aztec Empire. He discusses how ancient societies often underestimated their attackers, leading to their total destruction. The message is clear: understanding the nature and intentions of potential aggressors is crucial.

Modern Parallels: Today, we must consider how these historical lessons apply to current geopolitical dynamics. The situation in Armenia, with its vulnerable population facing threats from neighboring Turkey, echoes past genocides. Similarly, the ongoing persecution of the Uyghurs in China represents another modern-day threat of cultural and physical annihilation.

Domestic Concerns: Hanson also addresses domestic issues that could lead to societal decay. The COVID-19 pandemic, the ensuing lockdowns, and the resultant social unrest exemplify how internal crises can destabilize nations. Economic vulnerabilities, such as the US’s $35 trillion debt, exacerbate these threats, potentially leading to a breakdown of social order and the rule of law.

Conclusion: Hanson’s discussion is a sobering reminder of the delicate balance of power in today’s world. His insights urge us to consider not only the overt military threats but also the insidious decline from within. The existential threat that Iran poses to Israel is a stark example of how quickly stability can be threatened. As history has shown, the erosion of societal structures and underestimating adversaries can lead to catastrophic consequences. In an era where global stability is increasingly fragile, it is imperative to heed these warnings and prepare accordingly.


Hanson, V. D. (2024, May 21). Annihilation, Genocide, and World War III. Robinson’s Podcast #208. Retrieved from Viewed 22 May 2024.

Hanson, V. D. (2024). The End of Everything: How Wars Descend into Annihilation. Basic Books.


About the Author
The author is a specialist in nephrology and internal medicine and lives with his wife and family in Jerusalem.