Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Ass, Gas or Cash.......

Of our elaborate plans, the end
Of everything that stands, the end
No safety or surprise, the end

Are we handcuffed by our dependence on oil? Of course we are....Kaplan at Slate gets to the heart of the Iran Nuke Crisis:
However, Iran is a tougher nut to crack than North Korea, for at least two reasons. First, Iran has real levers it can pull, chiefly as a major supplier of oil, which gives it political muscle and—given prices these days—considerable wealth. By contrast, North Korea's leverage derives from its weakness; China especially doesn't want to push Pyongyang too hard, for fear that the regime will collapse and tens of millions of refugees will spill across its border.

Yep. No surprise petro-state Venezuela is becoming a giant pain in the ass these days, either. The New World Order is going to be multi-polar....And everyone is adjusting to this fact rapidly. Positioning, triangulation, and strategically aligning alliances. Yep, the future is going to be messy.

One interesting thing about the new proposals to Iran, going to lengths to see that Iran has offers all the way around for Nuke reactors for purely civilian uses, Russia is putting its friend Iran in tight spot if Iran really does want nuclear arms. If Iran publicly rebukes Russia's increasingly generous offers, things in the Caucus mountains are going to get interesting....And if China (big if) gets behind Russia's offer of purely civilian nuke energy, the UNSC will be forced into action if Iran decides to screw its last non-islamic buddies.

Second, Iranian rulers have long aspired to the status of a Great Power, and the mullahs who rule there now—perhaps inspired by neighboring India, Pakistan, and Israel—see nuclear weapons as a quick way to fulfill the dream. North Korean rulers—both of them (Kim Jong-il and his father before him, Kim Il-Sung)—have regarded themselves as "shrimp among whales," and they have shrewdly played the bigger powers off against one another in order merely to survive.

Makes you wonder what the goal of this power is, exactly. Ethnically, geographically, historically and religiously out of step with their neighbours to the west, so they'd be hard pressed to think about gaining areas outside their historical borders without major difficulties.....

Best bet? If Iran can coerce the US into a confrontation, the mullahs can rally the Iranian people (young and disenchanted with the establishment) around the leadership and withstand internal challenges to rule. Are all foreign affair engagements the result of internal politics? There's something to be said for it....

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