[Hi everyone – I’ve gotten enough “signup” requests for this politics filter that it’s obviously a bit on the useless side. So if anyone doesn’t want to be on this filter, LMK instead; otherwise I’ll just say bugger it and post unfiltered]
Apparently the Prime Minster of Serbia, Zoran Djindjic, was just assassinated. (Store here)
While I know that this isn’t directly correlated with anything else going on in the world right now, there’s something deeply unsettling about assassinations of major political figures in the Balkans at this sort of moment.
Just to make things more cheerful, here are my notes from my latest “political analysis” file – it’s datestamped the 7th, and I haven’t had time to render it into human-readable form, but some of it still seems fairly relevant.
Political analysis notes, 3/07/2003
If we invade Iraq and hold it, the Sunnis and Shiites will start circling around each other and jockeying for position. At some point the Kurds will try something – either the Turkish or the Iraqi Kurds – unless we’re extremely brutal in suppressing that. In which case it’ll take as long as it takes for the US’ terminally short attention span to waver.
The Kurdish issue will turn into an int’l firestorm, since we’ll be trying to placate Turkey etc etc and several other people have interests in heating it up, to make life harder for the US. Once the chaos gets really high, this’ll be an opportunity for the Sunnis and the Shiites to start to openly act against one another – and then welcome to Lebanon, 2.0.
Our presence there will turn us into the “near enemy” – a lot of the danger that’s been aimed at Israel is going to start getting aimed directly against the US, instead. Many groups are going to work really hard to instigate trouble, esp. al Qaeda and Islamic Jihad. (Possibly Hezbollah as well; this depends a bit on how the cards fall in Iran) Their goal is to get everyone into a frenzy big enough to spark a crusade against the westerners, but it’s not clear if they can succeed in that sort of unification – really, most of the Islamic world doesn’t *want* the empire redivivus.
Afghanistan will revert to tribal lords pretty quickly. (It’s already well on that course) Once things have gotten into a bit more chaos, it’ll make a good enemy base. If we start going in there to flush them out routinely, we’ll discover just why most people have learned not to get into protracted fights in Afghanistan. bin Laden & co. will stabilize their forces in the Saudi deserts. (SW quarter)
Israel stays on the status quo; everyone’s waiting for Arafat to die. This will become much less of a problem for the Islamic world once America is directly in the region.
In the meantime: The fascists are trying to take power in India, and they seem to be on a good courrse for it. American distraction will only help this. Assume they can get solid control of the Northwestern part of the country. How are their numbers elsewhere? How long will it take them to really, completely consolidate?
Once they get control, it’s only safe to expect expansionism and militarism, esp. against Pakistan. If India invades Pakistan, who will we back? Anyone? What comes next, especially if the fight goes nuclear, or if Pakistan breaks up and the Afghans flood in? (The Pashtun lines are worth watching carefully in this regard)
Iran is right in the middle of this. How will they handle this? Will this help Khatami or Khameini?
What’s happening in China?! e.g.: Will Xinjiang decouple and turn into a logical extension of the central Asian republics? Also, just how much of the country does China really control, beyond the coastline and the major rivers? How bad is AIDS?
The North Korea situation seems on course to developing into a continuation of the status quo, with slight advantage for NK.
When will Japan decide to remilitarize?
The Philippines: Abu Sayyaf are some dangerous bastards, but it’s not clear that they’ll be able to spread much. I’d worry much more about Indonesia – huge and very unstable. Radical movements will find very fertile ground there. If a Pacific front opens up, it’ll probably be in the strip going from the Philippines down to Indonesia. Australia is going to have a *great* time with this…
Europe will come over to the US side in a large-scale war, but only after they’re directly threatened. The Greens won’t be in power for too much longer, and the Christian Democrats are much more pro-American. France will hold out eternally but once it starts to become a target it’ll drift over to our side. They still want to keep their heads in the sand about actual danger.
(n.b. – if Europe does get involved at some point, and both the Middle East and South Asia have gotten hot, the resulting chaos will be a time of opportunity for more troublemakers, e.g. N Korea and various Indonesian groups and so on, to make their own local power plays. This could make it look like a really good simulacrum of a world war, even though it wouldn’t really be an all-out war on all the fronts at once; more like a worldwide medium-intensity conflict.)
Central and South America – decoupled?!!
Invasion of Iraq: March 2003?
– Establish provinicial government within a few months, maybe by June at the latest.
– Philippines should remain below-the-radar for a while; it won’t become major unless other events (e.g. explosion of Indonesia) make it relevant.
– Instabilities will wait for a while, looking for a trigger event; keep an eye on the Kurds in Turkey (and generally Turkish domestic politics) to see what’s up.
– Also monitor the political situation in India, and the various movements in Indonesia.
The Kurds, the Indian government, and the behavior of Japan and N. Korea are probably the major triggering flags for anything big to happen. The current situation is therefore not a timed course towards trouble; it simply puts us in a position where we’re set up for an awful lot of Bad Shit if any of the things go off.
Our conquest of Iraq is almost certain to lead to Bad Shit going off within a few years. Does Bush hope this will be after he gets out of office? Or is he just clueless about how bad this can get? (I’ve got a bad feeling that some of the other senior people do know this, and think they can get advantage out of it – well, a little time in the Middle East should cure them of *that* optimism)