Periodic World Craziness Update # 11

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

 Greece, Spain ‘in depression’: Nobel winner Stiglitz:  The slow motion death of the Euro continues and the only people that seem to not recognize it are the technocrats in charge of the various EU government.  At some point, probably too late, the signs and symptoms will be so overwhelming that the EU’s leaders will have no choice but to stop trying to apply band-aids and have to do something that will actually work.  That end is probably the dissolution of the Euro.

China’s increasing military spending unnerves neighbors:  Count me among the people who is alarmed by the growth in Chinese military spending.  I suppose it is difficult for America to criticize China given American levels of spending and engagement around the world.  However, Chinese saber rattling in the Western Pacific is also worrying.  China is a big one for airing supposed historic grievances and their use such grievances to generate domestic support for the regime is worrying.  If I were a Chinese neighbor, I would be worried by military spending boosts in excess of 10% per year.  China plays inscrutable so well that everybody else is naturally suspicious and Chinese support for pariah regimes like Iran and North Korea does not bolster the claims of a lack of evil intentions.  That, and they are communists who are inherently untrustworthy to begin with.

Syrian war boils over onto U.S. allies; outside jihadists rush in:  Stories like this highlight why the US and the West need to avoid picking sides in Syria.  Chances are whoever we support hates us anyway and we will garner no goodwill by supporting them.  The US needs to concentrate on helping our steadfast allies like Jordan and Israel and not touch Syria with a ten-foot pole.  At best the US should be prepared to help cleanup the mess of the aftermath of this conflict.

China raises stakes over disputed islands:  I don’t think we have heard the last of this yet.  My guess would be that the dispute will not get to the point of exchanges of fire but I am not sure.  The big ? here is how serious both sides are about pressing their claims to these worthless pieces of rock.  It appears to be a prestige issue now and sometimes prestige, or the risk of losing face, is enough reason to start a shooting war.  As long as the US reaffirms their commitment to assisting Japan if attacked I think war will be avoided.

The Angry Pacific: This is is pretty good analysis of why the US is unprepared for an Asian war despite government claims to the contrary.

After Obama win, U.S. backs new U.N. arms treaty talks:  This treaty should make everybody suspicious, not just conservatives   I am increasingly convinced that the NWO conspiracy types might actually be on to something because I am convinced that the leadership at the UN does in fact want to make national sovereignty obsolete and convert the General Assembly into some type of world parliament with law-making powers.

IDF fires warning shot into Syria after shelling:  Is this, and incidents on the Turkish-Syrian border, the slow-motion beginning of a widening of the 1 1/2 year old Syrian civil war?  I am beginning to be more convinced that the Syrian rebels would like to see the war widen if for no other reason than they think such a widening will be to their advantage.  I am not sure that is a calculation that is strictly true.  The rebels and Syrian government are playing with fire if either seeks to widen the conflict outside the Syrian borders.  Any international response is unpredictable, at best.

Israel launches Gaza offensive, kills Hamas commander:  If anything was calculated to add to the instability in the Middle East, this is it.  I cannot say I blame the Israelis, they have been under increasing rocket attacks out of Gaza for some time now.  Regardless, the timing of their attack could not be worse.  The sad truth is that this was probably inevitable, the events in the region since the Arab Spring have made the “Palestinians” more restless and given them the idea that they can exert pressure on the Israelis and extract some concessions.  That is either an example of wishful thinking on the part of Hamas or a seriously flawed appraisal of Israeli willingness to defend themselves.  The Israeli are the last people in the world who will cave in to threats and Hamas should know this.