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It is a dangeous waiting game. Will European and U.S. sanctions against Iran bring about a peaceful resolution to quell Iran's nuclear aggression? Will Israel remain patient and allow additional economic pressure on Iran from China work?
Will a collapsing Iranian economy be the catalyst for an overthrow of the current regime? Or, would heavy blows to Iran's economy accelerate a decision by President Ahmadinejad into a first-strike military action?
And if a conflict between Israel and Iran is inevitable, should the U.S. support Israel with active involvement? Passively? Or not at all?
The volatility of the entire Middle East is in question and consequently, crude oil prices continue their steady climb... How high will they go? Defense Secretary Leon Panetta's intelligence report said an attack by Israel on Iran would push crude prices to $200 per barrel, if not higher.
At face value, the prospect of such a horrific event would undoubtedly nullify any progress the U.S. economy may be experiencing. And to complicate everything, even the timing of Israel's eventual decision, we can't ignore the fact that Americans elect a president in 2012.
Well informed political commentators have already suggested that if Israel were to attack Iran before the election, they could count on America's full support. After the election? They're not so sure.
Stepping away from speculation into the cold reality of the price at the pump we see now that we're moving into uncharted territory never before seen in any February.
In New York City where the average price today is $3.93 per gallon, one Gulf station in Bayside, Queens has spiked to $4.59.
In Miami, a Shell station (42nd Ave.NW and 25th St.) hit $4.39.
And in California, where the state average is now at $4.02, a Bo-Gas station in Bolinas, CA (Wharf Road and Brighton Ave.) has posted its price for regular unleaded at $5.04 per gallon.