Wednesday, October 24, 2007

World War III

When Feckless Leader puts WWIII on the table, it's a natural reaction to yawn and mutter, "What an asshole."

But M K Bhadrakumar has a different take. He puts it in the perspective of the current maneuvers in the Middle East, and sees some brinkmanship going on. Specifically, he points out that the US is involved in supplying and protecting the PKK, and thus pissing off our Turkish allies no end. US policy has destroyed the old order, where the Turks were our unquestioning friends, and substituted a world where all the players are jockeying for position. Turkey's national interests are now going in another direction from that of Washington, and unpredictable outcomes are inevitable, even in the short term.

The strategic disaster in Iraq has two sides, one is political, and Bush & Co. have been winning that fight against the weakest crew of Democratic politicians in recent memory. Petraeus has managed to lower US casualty rates by alliances of convenience with the Sunnis, matched with unrestrained bombing of whoever shoots back. Damn the women and children, full speed ahead! This keeps the Republicans in line, and Congress ready to pass out another $46B in interim spending.

But that does not relieve the strategic problem. The US wants Turkey to play ball on Iran, but because of its knee-jerk support of the Kurds, with Israeli help, Turkey is being driven to seek out support from the other players. Placating the Sunnis is driving Maliki towards Iran.

The other big powers, Russia and China, are keeping their mouths zipped, and they're right to do so. For WWIII to occur, at least one of them would have to be involved, and though China has strategic interests in Iran and now in Iraq, it's Russia that is the obvious target of Bush's bluster. Putin's trip to Iran scared the crap out of the Israelis, they must see now that their total alliance with the US could have a downside.

And none of this has anything to do with mythical Iranian nukes.


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