reply to post by travis911
In answer to your question - nobody knows, we can only guess. It is always desperately hard to predict how these things turn out. If you look back at
the history of the first Cold War it is hard to comprehend how many cool heads failed to prevail at once - never underestimate the ability of our
leaders to make completely ridiculous decisions based on blind self-interest.
What we have this time is an interesting mix in which domestic political problems are going to play a decisive factor. Each of the following are going
to be instrumental in how the game in the Middle East plays out over the coming months/years:
Consider Russia, which is about to have Presidential elections against the backdrop of an increasingly vocal opposition movement. Putin will win, no
doubt, but if the opposition movement gains sway, Putin may be tempted to distract the populace with a foreign adventure of some kind (the Chechen
Wars anyone?). Russia's growth and stability relies on high energy prices and instability in the Mid East guarantees that, so an unstable region is a
good thing for Vlad & Co.
The US. About to have Presidential elections against the backdrop of a severe economic crisis, a divided country and growing distrust of the
Washington establishment. Depending on how events unfold, and especially if the US economy continues to recover, the eventual GOP candidate will
abandon bashing Obama on the economy and switch to traditional foreign policy issues, no doubt sharpening the anti-Iran rhetoric, raising the stakes
and the temperature in general.
China. About to get a new leader. Against the backdrop of an economic miracle that is beginning to buckle under its own weight. A large and
increasingly suppressed population who may also need to be distracted by rallying around a shared cause whose focus is far from home?
The EU. Those two letters speak for themselves. I shouldn't have to draw a picture to illustrate the woeful lack of strong leadership on the
continent at this time. Or perhaps it should be the incontinent
Sarkozy is soon to become Mr. Carla Bruni. The British coalition Govt doesn't
have long before it falls apart IMO. Even Merkel faces powerful opposition at home, and THEY are Europe's strongmen!!! Europe will not do anything to
either cause or prevent war anywhere, because Europe is incapable of even sorting its own mess out.
Israel.....Okay okay okay
I don't have to go on to show how this isn't just about the Mid East or oil or any one other thing. It's just good old fashioned international
three-dimensional chess, which could turn out any way imaginable. But if the first Cold War is any lesson, you cannot exclude the possibility of all
the wrong decisions being made simultaneously, resulting in a long a protracted ideological schism during which occasional localised "hot" proxy
wars will flare up, including, although I doubt it, Syria. But Iran, maybe.......