Monday, August 11, 2014

What happens next?

Recent months have brought us a steady grind of bad news in the global arena.  Order seems to breaking down, with increasingly authoritarian regimes taking increasingly belligerent actions around the globe.

To whit:

1) Russia annexes Crimea
2) Russia masses troops on Ukraine border and foments unrest in the Eastern part of the nation.  Europe and the U.S. seem at odds in formulating a response.
3) Former elements of Al Qaeda in Iraq, since reformed as ISIS or ISIL, proclaimed a new caliphate, and have successfully taken control of large swathes of territory in Syria, Lebanon, and Iraq. 
4) ISIL proceeds to demand conversions of Christians or they will be executed.
5) Prime Minister Erdogan takes on a new office and has taken a more fundamentalist tone.  All the pieces seem in place for him to roll up more authority.  Meanwhile, he has taken a much more belligerent stance with respect to Israel, and repeatedly has deployed naval vessels to supply Hamas.
6) The Chinese have accelerated talks with Moscow to create a non-dollar currency regime.  They have also ramped up nuclear capabilities and production with an eye towards developing a second strike capability that would put them on par with Russia and the U.S.  

As the Obama presidency winds down, and these authoritarian regimes feel the weight of their "window of opportunity" closing, which of the following seem plausible, possible, or likely:

1) Iran announcing a nuclear weapon capability.
2) Iran directly intervening to protect the Shiite majority in southern Iraq against ISIL advances.
3) A Turkish incursion into northern Iraq to prevent Kurds from forming a viable nation state.
4) An ISIL-like group consolidating authority in Libya and/or Afghanistan. 
5) China invading Taiwan.
6) North Korea, supported by the Chinese, invading South Korea.
7) Russia invading Ukraine
8) Increasingly belligerent military maneuvers by China and Russia, such as flying nuclear bombers near US airspace (as we have seen recently).

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Always sniffing for the truth

Always sniffing for the truth

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