Book Review: The Accidental Superpower by Peter Zeihan

Book Review Featured Image

I picked up Peter Zeihan’s The Accidental Superpower because I thought the title was interesting. I did not expect it to be as excellent a book as it is. I actually expected a dry dissertation on geopolitics. It is a dissertation on geopolitics but it is anything but dry. The book itself is 354 pages of text including appendices and includes an introduction, epilogue, and index. It is separated into 15 thematic chapters. The first eight chapters describe the impact of geography on the human settlement and political organization. They also go over how that impact has determined which modern countries and peoples are winners and which are losers. The … Read more…

Periodic World Craziness Update # 32

The latest month’s wackiness in the world of international relations, politics, and  brinkmanship.   Iraqi Military Makes Gains North of Baghdad in Conflict With ISIS:  It will be interesting to see how the response to the ISIS offensive plays out both in Iraq and in the wider world.  The INA is a broken reed and any gains they make will be fleeting.  I fully expect a stalemate to ensue shortly wherein Iraq is effectively partitioned.  We are saying the beginning of bloody fighting.  Think of it as Sunni Triangle II. Ukraine Says Russia Has 38,000 Troops on Border Amid ‘Invasion’:  The biggest news out of this story is not that … Read more…

Periodic World Craziness Update # 31

The latest month’s wackiness in the world of international relations, politics, and  brinkmanship.  Ukraine battles militants, Russia demands cash for gas:  The hijinks continue.  I am very curious to see what happens in the Elections on 25 May.  If the current regime is selected they gain instant credibility and legitimacy and I would expect them to double down on their efforts to crush the eastern separatists. Hard for NATO to defend Baltic states from Russia – Spiegel:  This should not be news for anyone who has paid attention to the anemic state of the militaries of mos NATO countries.  The question is will Russia even go after the Baltic states? … Read more…

Periodic World Craziness Update # 30

The latest month’s wackiness in the world of international relations, politics, and  brinkmanship.  Ukraine Falters in Drive to Curb Unrest in East:  Perhaps the biggest mistake the Kiev government could make right now is to make threats they are unwilling or incapable of following through on.   Nothing could damage their credibility and legitimacy more than doing so.  It would seem they have done just that in regards to the protester seizure of government buildings in the eastern part of the country. Fragile Europe Weakens U.S. Push for Russia Sanctions:  Who would have thought the current US admin could demonstrate more resolve than the EU right now?  Of course, Obama must follow through or he shows himself … Read more…

Periodic World Craziness Update # 29

Russian Troops Ukraine

The latest month’s wackiness in the world of international relations, politics, and  brinkmanship.  Crimea referendum: Voters ‘back Russia union’:  Yep, That had to be a fair election.  It’s not like the Russians don’t have armed troops all over the place there.  I stand by my prediction that the US and EU will meekly submit to whatever Russia wants and go no farther than sanctions despite the Western Guarantee of Ukrainian sovereignty from the 90’s.  Ukraine will probably continue to dominate the news this month as well. NATO general warns of further Russian aggression:  So, what led NATO’s commander to just now acknowledge the danger that the Crimea will not be … Read more…

Periodic World Craziness Update # 28

Ukraine

The latest month’s wackiness in the world of international relations, politics, and  brinkmanship.  Ukraine crisis: Police storm main Kiev ‘Maidan’ protest camp:  The question on everyone’s mind: Is this the start of the Ukrainian Civil War?  I would guess no but still put the likelihood of Ukraine descending into civil war around 50%.  It would appear that the president is hoping he can wait the protesters out.  A hope that appears misplaced since the coldest part of the winter is about over and warmer weather is on the horizon.  The return of warm weather will actually bring out more protesters and if eh fails to dislodge the protesters now he … Read more…

Periodic World Craziness Update # 27

Remains of a prematurely detonated Car Bomb (VCIED) outside of Ad-Daw, Iraq in January 2005

The latest month’s wackiness in the world of international relations, politics, and  brinkmanship. Suicide Bomb Instructor Accidentally Detonates, Kills 21 Students In Iraq:  I just about fell out of my chair laughing when I read this story.  I was reminded of the moron one afternoon in January 2005 who came out of a side road racing towards me and my wingman’s Bradley’s as we were driving into Ad Dawr, Iraq.  As he got to about 300m from our two vehicles his car suddenly disintegrated.  Stuff like this is why Arabs make horrible fighters.   North Korea warns South and U.S. over “provocative” drills:  I start to get the feeling that … Read more…

Periodic World Craziness Update # 26

The latest month’s wackiness in the world of international relations, politics, and  brinkmanship.  China’s State Media Blame U.S. for Near Collision of Warships:  I start to wonder how far and how fast China is willing to ratchet up tensions over the Senkaku’s?  It seems that China is not unwilling to provoke an incident.  What happens if they pull something like this in the future and the US retaliates by sinking a Chinese ship, maybe even their beloved waste of a carrier?  Never mind that this whole incident is akin to Hitler blaming Poland for WWII. India-US row over arrest of diplomat Devyani Khobragade in New York escalates:  though this piece … Read more…

Periodic World Craziness Update # 25

The latest month’s wackiness in the world of international relations, politics, and  brinkmanship.   Syrian Regime Chokes Off Food to Town That Was Gassed:  What is the point of a siege if food is allowed through the siege lines? I will never understand modern bleeding hearts.  They should be happy the government forces are not catapulting disease ridden corpses into the besieged area or trying to poison the water supply.  Since when is war supposed to bloodless and not affect non-combatants? Update: Starving rebels eat lion from a Damascus zoo – Apparently the siege is doing what a siege is intended to do.  I am not shocked.  Further, the guys … Read more…

Periodic World Craziness Update # 24

The latest month’s wackiness in the world of international relations, politics, and  brinkmanship. Syria: Al-Qaida group changes shape of civil war – It seems increasingly clear that the Syrian Civil War is starting to morph into a more regional conflict.  I would expect that before next summer we will star to see more overt regional alignments and the conflict will start to spread.  Give it another 18 months and we may very well start to see the fighting spread outside of Syria.  I would expect that Lebanon would be the first foreign country to see significant fighting spread onto it’s territory although I can picture a scenario where Iraq is also … Read more…

Periodic World Craziness Update # 22

kenya-mall-attack

The latest month’s wackiness in the world of international relations, politics, and  brinkmanship.   U.S. weapons reaching Syrian rebels, Syria: nearly half rebel fighters are jihadists or hardline Islamists, says IHS Jane’s report:  As far as foreign policy stupidity goes, arming the Syrian rebels is right up there with deposing the Diem brothers in South Vietnam was in 1963.  I can think of no other act more guaranteed to put American weapons in the hands of America’s enemies unless we were to ship them directly to Al Qaeda.  I am starting to seriously think Alex Jones has the right of the criminal stupidity and treason of the current administration.  It is … Read more…

Periodic World Craziness Update # 21

The latest month’s wackiness in the world of international relations, politics, and  brinkmanship. EGYPT: 36 KILLED IN PRISON TRUCK ESCAPE ATTEMPT:  As predicted, Egypt appears to be slipping into a Civil War.  How long until McCain starts saying we need to arm the MB there to protect them against the Military that is trying to keep Egypt secular if not exactly Democratic? In Egyptian village, Christian shops marked ahead of church attack:  What do the Christians have to do with the military – Muslim Brotherhood conflict/argument?  I see these attacks as the MB using the opportunity of the unrest to get rid of a minority they despise anyway.  If the … Read more…

Syria and the Latest Iteration of the Flawed Doctrine of R2P

I have the sinking feeling that events will outpace my monthly update so I wanted to throw this out there to stay ahead of the curve.  Ironically, it seems I now have the answer to the question I posed in April of 2011, and the answer is 28 months. Exclusive: Syria strike due in days, West tells opposition – sources:  The Admin is talking itself into a corner.  here is also the strong possibility that they want to do this anyway in hopes of polishing up their Foreign Policy credibility.  We all know how swimmingly their last foray into R2P in Libya went.  What we are seeing here is the … Read more…

Periodic World Craziness Update # 20

The latest month’s wackiness in the world of international relations, politics, and  brinkmanship. US ‘considering military force in Syria’:  If you read this article the headline is not exactly true, the Pentagon is enaged in contingency planning but is not preparing for imminent action.  There are elements in Congress that would love to see it but as of now Obama is still being partially smart and resisting calls for direct US intervention, which would be a mistake no matter how you look at it. With little argument, House limits U.S. military involvement in Syria, Egypt:  I wil believe it when I see it.  The administration will do whatever they think … Read more…

Nicholas Lambert’s Planning Armageddon

Here is a link to an excellent review of Nicholas Lambert’s Planning Armageddon a new book about British strategic planning prior to WWI.  It sounds like an excellent read and a book that has to go on my wish list.