Periodic World Craziness Update # 9

The latest month’s wackiness in the world of international relations, politics, and  brinkmanship.

Afghanistan: a ragged retreat threatens to turn into a slow-motion rout: Afghanistan is increasingly in the news again. I don’t know if that is because the US Presidential race is entering the final stages or that the war does in fact seem to be turning into a slow motion disaster. I suspect a little bit of both with some other factors thrown in. What ,most journalists and commentators fail to acknowledge however is that the war in Afghanistan went south a long time before Obama came into office. It went out the window when the US invaded Iraq and relegated the war to a sideshow through lack of strategic focus. By the time Iraq was concluded the Taliban had had almost 8 years to adjust to American/NATO operational methods and maintain their own operational effectiveness. Herculean efforts would be required at this point to achieve success. The war-weary West can no longer muster the will to bring the war to a successful conclusion.

Marines testing women in combat jobs I am basically only going to link to this story as I don’t even know what to think. Maybe that the forces of idiocy and political correctness must be prevailing? Up is down, left is right, and poor is really rich? Trying to fit women into combat arms has nothing to do with sexual equality, it is about political correctness and once again using the US military as an experiment in social engineering.

Can Europe Survive the Rise of the Rest?: The Rest referred to in the title of this piece is everybody outside the industrialized Western nations of Europe and the wider English speaking world.   It further comes from a theory about why the West has been successful put forth by Niall Ferguson in The West and the Rest, which I have previously reviewed on this site.   The big question is if the Europeans can and will muster the political will to both save the euro and ensure that Europe maintains its place as one of the most prosperous areas of the world.   I find that I am highly doubtful Europe will do either.   The political will to make substantive fundamental changes seems to be lacking in Europe.   Everybody wants somebody else to pay for their own mistakes.   The Europeans will stagger on for a few more years I think and then something will happen although I don’t know what that will either get them to fix their problems or make them completely insoluble.   I can’t tell yet which way I think they are most likely to jump.

Moody’s Changes Euro Zone Rating Outlook to ‘Negative’:  Now this is a good one.   If the rating agencies downgrade the ECB bonds I would imagine this will have a serious cascade effect on the debt instruments of the rest of the Eurozone as it is the ECB that is the only one in a position to rescue the PIIGS countries.   The EU continues to struggle because the political will to fix the serious structural, social, and debt causes of the crisis is lacking.   Band-aid solutions will continue until one country, probably Greece, defaults at which point it will probably be too late to save the Euro.   The collapse of Lehman Bros. in ’08 will be nothing compared to the collapse of the Euro.   Keep on watching and make sure your investments are liquid.

Euro Bailout Fund Faces New Court Challenge in Germany:  This is an interesting wrinkle in the slow motion Eurozone disaster.   The whole thing here hinges on the ECB plans to essentially print money and inflate European debt away.   It will be interesting to see how the German Constitutional Court decides on this.   If they turn it down, it is possible even probable, that the Euro experiment is doomed to failure.   This bears watching.

US transfers Bagram prison control to Afghan officials:  Will the Afghans immediately release a bunch of Taliban or will they stick to their agreement?  Personally, I bet some of the Taliban at Bagram get released as a peace offering to get peace talks going and hopefully get the Taliban to recognize the Karzai regime.   For some reason, I think of snowballs and Hell when that idea comes up.   I simply cannot see the Taliban suddenly reversing themselves and accepting the legitimacy of Karzai’s corrupt regime.   Interesting times indeed.

Have We Ever Sunk So Low?:  Just read the piece, it says it all with no need of additional commentary from me.

US and Israel in open feud over Iran:  I wrote about the possibility of an Israeli strike on Iran this past March.   A the time I write that “I expect the Iranians to do something stupid as the US election draws near in an attempt to influence them…”  I have not changed my mind.   It seems that both Israel and the Administration are going out of each others way to rile feathers and strain US-Israeli ties.   Obama and Hillary are being stupid about how they treat our most important Mid-East ally but at the same time Israeli rhetoric and saber rattling is not really helpful.   We will know within the next 60 days if Israel is planning an October surprise or not.

Stories about the Embassy and Consulate attacks in Libya, Egypt, and Yemen.   Officials say Marines were not part of Benghazi force in Libya, Four arrested in deadly attack on U.S. Consulate in Libya, Coptic Christian ex-con behind Muhammad movie, Islamists Storm US Egyptian Embassy, US Apologizes:  There are so many unanswered questions here and so much we don’t know yet that is hard to have an opinion.   One thing is clear, an official organ of the US government apologizing for a US Citizen exercising their rights of free speech is not the thing to do.   That apologizing was the knee-jerk reaction of the Cairo embassy speaks volumes about what the members of the US Diplomatic corps think about the country they represent.   That apparently Muslims still think rioting and murdering people over offensive speech is justified speaks volumes about Islamic culture.   As with the case of the Danish cartoons and Geert Wilders film “Fitna“, [which is embedded below] these riots are widespread and not isolated instances as some people would have us believe.   I will no doubt have more on these events in next month’s update.

Watch Fitna von Geert Wilders