Periodic World Craziness Update # 16

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

Obama Says Iran A Year Away From Nuclear Weapon: The most telling quote and also begging a question from this piece is: “Iran is about a year away from developing a nuclear weapon and the United States remains committed to doing everything in its power to prevent that from happening…”  What exactly can the US do?  In the face of the budget cuts this year that are forcing a virtual shutdown in training and the resultant effects on military readiness are not US options even more reduced than before.  It would seem that the President is making empty veiled threats and if I can see that you can bet Iranian intel analysts see it the same way.  A good example of how domestic politics affects international relations.  We are entering an interesting period in Iranian-Western relations.  More than ever we need a definite answer to what happens if Iran actually gets the bomb? If they get it they will less restrained than others from using it.

U.S. General Puts Troops on Security Alert After Karzai Remarks:  What the US leadership needs to do is cut bait.  Given his numerous recent remarks it is obvious that Karzai no longer feels he needs American or NATO assistance and is positioning himself to come out on top in the inevitable Civil War that will break out mere weeks after the last foreign soldier leaves. I wonder how long it would take to destroy everything in place and get our troops out?  I would guess that NATO could be completely gone from Afghanistan in about 3 weeks from the go order if that order included a scorched earth policy in which we leave absolutely nothing of military value behind in operable condition.

Cyprus works on last-minute deal to soften bank levy:  This one is strange and I wonder if a demand such as this one will presage the final, overdue in my opinion, breakup of the Euro club.  I bet the folks in the PIIGS group of countries are really starting to wonder if there bank deposits are safe after the announcement that the EU is essentially forcing the Cypriot government to enact a one-off confiscatory tax on personal deposits.  Riots are probably not far behind as well as bank runs.  The best question is what idiot in Brussels came up with the idea of this idiotic tax.  It is almost as though the proposal is designed to provoke violent protests. Update-Cyprus scrambles to avert meltdown, EU threatens cutoff:  This is another slow motion disaster happening before our eyes.  It will be interesting to see how this plays out.  Could Cyprus end up being the first country to jump from the Euro?  It certainly appears that could be the case.

North Korea Vows Military Action Against More U.S. B-52 Flights:  I can’t say that North Korea is not dumb enough to actually try and shoot down an American aircraft.  They did sink a South Korean naval vessel a few years ago and there was also there artillery bombardment of the South Korean island and village.  The only thing you can count on when it comes to North Korea is that they are irrational enough to do just about anything and if they say they will do something be vigilant regardless of how crazy or self-defating their stated intentions sound.

North Korea puts rocket units on alert to ‘attack US’:  The DPRK continues to ratchet up the rhetoric against both the South and the US.  I am increasingly convinced that this is leading up to something although I am not sure what.  Perhaps they plan a strike on Seoul, which is inside of heavy artillery range from the DMZ.  Whatever they do it will be a mistake as the only thing they can possibly accomplish is starting a regional war with the potential to go global.  I am seeing shades of Europe in the 30’s in Asia right now.  I am almost convinced that China is egging the North on and trying to play both sides of the plate.

This is all from the first week of April: North Korea Is Running Out of Threats, North Korea to cut all channels with South as “war may break out any time”, North Korea plan to attack US mainland revealed in photographs,  North Korea says enters “state of war” against South, China mobilizing troops, jets near Korea, U.S. General Says North Korea Situation Is ‘Volatile’ and ‘Dangerous’:  I am not sure anymore what, if anything, the DPRK is leading up to.  It certainly has all the appearances of wagging the dog and little to do with an actual war scare.  I could be wrong though and the DPRK’s leadership really is dumb enough to start a war.  Maybe they have assurances of Chinese support if shooting starts, we just don’t know.  The DPRK is so opaque it is difficult to understand the dynamics of what is really going on here.  As much as I hate to say it, I think we don’t have any choice but to wait and see at this point.  If the rhetoric is continuing in a month then I would say it is posturing, if it has stopped then it is certainly posturing.  If however, we find ourselves in a shooting war within the month then we will know something was up.  The North cannot continue the rhetoric at this level indefinitely without looking like fools so they will either have to settle down or start shooting if they don’t want to just be ignored completely.

North Korea Army: ‘War Could Break Out Today’:  Given the level of rhetoric I am starting to think that by the time this post publishes on the 15th of April either the two Korea’s will be at war or the North generated crisis will have passed.  I don’t see that the DPRK has any choice but to blink but have no confidence that they are able or willing to act in their own self-interest.  On an unrelated note, if a war does start the US might finally get the USS Pueblo back and end that particular shame.

Five die in Christian-Muslim clashes in Egypt, Coptic Christians under siege as mob attacks Cairo cathedral:  It is hard to see the current unrest between Muslims and Christians in Egypt as anything but a Brotherhood inspired terror campaign.  I don’t have any evidence to prove this beyond the speculation that if the government was really interested in preventing violence they could easily do so were they willing to.  That leaves me with the conclusion that at a a minimum this violence has tacit government approval and as we all know, despite his protestations to the contrary  Morsi is just an extension of the Muslim Brotherhood.

SKorea: NKorea may be preparing to test missile:  I will wait and see if this really happens before commenting.  

Lawmaker drops bombshell: North Korea may have nuclear missiles:  If the North Koreans do have nuclear capable missiles this is a game-changer.  The question then becomes is preemption against such an obviously unstable regime a policy we should be pursuing in consultation with regional allies such as Japan and most importantly, South Korea?  I don;t know the answer to this one because I don;t know how good the supposed intelligence is and what the likelihood of success an strike to disable the North’s nuclear missiles might be.