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Being a Geo-political Strategist is Tough

(Must I add that the title is meant tongue in cheek?)

 As I read an interesting book on geo-politics, I am struck by a couple things:
1. How incompetent politicians and diplomats are at avoiding war. (Perhaps because they don't want to avoid it.)
2. How naive and easily deceived the masses are. They will believe anything. Immediately the war drums are being beaten. Preachers are talking about their War God from their pulpits. And how useful the Media is in starting a war.
3. How powerful hindsight is.
4. How poor I am at looking at international crises today, determining who is really behind it, what they hope to gain, and what is likely to happen.

In fact, #4 is so strong that I sometimes think that reading history is a waste of time. For instance I was surprised by Russia's military involvement in the current Syrian crisis. Then I was surprised by the recklessness of the War Party in Washington DC in wanting to send American planes and troops to Syria, despite the risk of an incident with the Russians. Such an incident feeds into #2 above. We have already survived one such incident when Turkey (a member of NATO) shot down the Russian bomber. 

No doubt, the incident was planned to provoke Putin into doing something rash, but he was too 'cool a customer' to fall for the trap.

Very well then, it is time to be foolish and predict how this mess is going to play out:

1. Russia's military commitment is enough to stabilize their ally, the Assad regime of Syria. But it isn't enough to ensure its long term survival. But Assad will survive until Washington DC gets a new president.

2. Russia is creating a bargaining chip which they will cash in during the early days of the next American president's term. The Russians will pull out of Syria, and leave a hypocritical war against ISIL to NATO, while in the background, NATO will pull away from the regime in Ukraine.

3. Both Putin and the new American president will look like great states-persons and peacemakers, so their popularity ratings will soar.

4. Washington's neocon warmongers, and Sunni regimes in Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Turkey, will then be free to finish destroying Syria, install a friendly puppet, build their pipeline from Qatar, and keep Israel happy now that Hezbollah in Lebanon has lost its ally, Assad, in Syria.

5. The Russians will be happy to keep NATO from expanding into the Ukraine.

6. A sense of crisis along the way will keep empowering Washington DC, London, and Paris to rub out the civil liberties of their serfs citizens.


Anonymous said…
By jove, spot on! I nominate you for next secretary of state or at least to head up the NSA.

Carl said…
7. Iran weaponizes its enriched Uranium. Reset previous predictions.
Gee, those are my only two choices? There are so many others I would be prime for: director of AIPAC, Secretary of Defense, director of the CIA, etc.
I disagree, Carl. Iran has nothing to gain by playing with nukes. Israel already has about 100 nuclear warheads, so there is nothing to gain on that playing field, for Iran. And Iran submits to international inspections. Israel does not submit.
Carl said…
I would agree with you if the only way to deliver a tactical nuclear device was via warhead. The world is beyond cold war tactics.

But maybe you're right, a nuclear capable Iran may sit idly by while predictions 1-6 play out.

I'd be reluctant to ignore a nuclear capable tyrannical theocratic regime known to support terrorism who has explicitly stated on more than several occasions they will destroy another sovereign country filled with a "captive population".

John V said…
Russia will never lose Syria. Even if Assad falls, his replacement will be somebody acceptable to Russia. The gas pipeline from Qatar will not be built, and Russia will not lose it's only naval base on the Med. Russia will go to the mat to protect these interests. No surprise there.
Ed said…
I think you have done well with your Geo-political assessment. I do think that Iran will develop a nuclear capability and play the MAD game with Israel in a Middle East Cold War. Iran wants to be the big dog in the Middle East just like the US of A and Russia wanted to be all around the world during their MAD days. The danger is that some crazy will think that a 'first strike' is a good idea and there are more crazies in Tehran and Washington than there are in Moscow and Tel Aviv.
Post-Shah Iran has not invaded another country. It has been a relative non-player in the terrorism game compared to American ally, Saudi Arabia, which has been exporting Wahhabism for decades.

Yes, Syria is important to Russia for the reasons you mentioned. But doesn't Ukraine matter more to Russia than Syria does?
John V said…
Ukraine is important culturally and as a commercial port, but Syria has far more financial and political value. Russia's greatest geopolitical power is the stranglehold over natural gas supplies it has over all of Europe and Turkey. That's probably more significant than the clout associated with their military.
Carl said…
Well I'm not sure how that's relevant when I never claimed Iran would invade anyone even if they had the capability nor did I claim Iran was the sole nor greatest exporter of terrorism.

But it does export terrorism and I do believe it will enrich weapons grade Uranium.

My poorly made point is a mideast geopolitical strategy that does not account for Iran may be missing too much. Iran has skin in the game.

I suspect that a big dog Iran would do the world less harm than a big dog Saudi Arabia.
OK, Iran needs to be brought into a discussion of Mid-east power politics, but I was keeping the post narrowed down to Syria. Hey, what do you expect for your subscription price?!
Why can't the gas pipeline from the Persian Gulf just go through Iraq instead of Syria? It would be a little longer. Of course if Iraq ends up in Iran's sphere of influence, and Iran is tied closely to the Russkies...
Ed said…
I think you are right again.