HI all.  

5 posts
4/30/2006 2:14 pm
HI all.

--Orioles just lost to the Mariners. Ugh. Back to .500, 13 wins, 13 losses. Hopefully we can hang at or above .500 for the season; that's what most O's fans are expecting, anyway.

--About the internship: I DIDN'T get the one I wanted. Apparently, that agency specifically requested a certain student among the pool of available applicants. Translation: either someone had a kick ass resume or (as I'm more inclined to believe, as my resume was pretty strong and would have fit their needs perfectly ) someone had a kick ass personal connection.

Either way, I had to take the 2nd internship. It pays significantly more then the other one, though it is not something I really want to do. It will still give me govt. experience, look great on my resume and give me something productive to do during the summer, along with paying some bills that I need to take care of. And I'll always do my best at whatever job I have: I don't half-ass. Still, its hard not to be dissappointed. That other job would have been PERFECT for me.

--So, getting to the point of this post: I'm a politics person, with a specific focus on US/East Asian and US/Middle Eastern relations.

One of the first things we're taught in the intl. politics field: don't committ! Specifically, don't make predictions: there are too many unpredicatable, often violatle factions involved with politics on the global stage. Anyone who considers themselves a serious analyst can kill their career by going public and saying, "X WILL happen," if X doesn't happen.

However, WITH THAT SAID, on December 31, 2005, I decided to go ahead and roll the dice, so I listed several patterns and/or predictions of what I thought would or would not happen. For fun, I'm posting it here. Mind you, I am not saying I --want these things to happen--. I am not condoning them. Just saying I think they are very strong possibilities. So, with that said:

---Iran—through more extremist rhetoric against Israel and the West in general and because of its covert activities in Iraq and the fear it inspires in the Gulf States—will decisively become the largest and most feared International Pariah state of this generation. It will continue to receive the quiet, tacit support of the Arab population, though Arab leaders will give it skewed, wary looks. It will either go Nuclear or be on the verge of it by years end, and no one can or will do anything about it.

UPDATE: there has been a lot of talk about various political and economic sanctions against Iran, along with a pre-emptive strike by either the US or Israel [not both]. I am not holding my breath for either.

---Iraq will continue to be bloody and the insurgency will not be stopped. But the political process will continue to muddle on, slowly bringing more Iraqi forces online. More Iraqi forces and some semblence of a political process will act as the appropriate cover to bring 5,000+- troops by home by spring, with many more to come home by Christmas.

UPDATE: with the post-vote political process being dragged on for months on end, the timeline for major withdrawls of US/coalition forces has been pushed backwards. I do not wish to committ to a specific time, but be assured that the Repulicans will not want the anchor of 130,000 soilders in Iraq for the Nov. 2008 election. It is only a matter of time.

--Sunnis will continue to be the odd man out in the new Iraq, with one foot in the process and the other foot with the insurgency. It will not be until most Americans/coalition forces are gone and the Shia can begin the bloody, violent work necessary to bring the insurgency to heel so that the Sunni will accept the mediocrity of their circumstance: that will not happen until 2007 at the earliest. Until then, they’ll continue to the most annoying political group(s) in Iraq. I do not know which direction the Shia will go: Iran is obviously attempting to get their claws into the country and turn Iraq into a de facto vassal state. Though its undeniable that Iraq’s ties with Iran will be closer then we would like, Iraqis do have a strong sense of nationalism and would not favor such a relationship, though it remains to be seen how much choice they will have in the matter, especially after American forces are mostly gone and a weak government will have to deal with the insurgency.

UPDATE: expect Shia-controled Iraq to be a vassal state of Iran for at least the rest of the next decade: Iran simply has too many political, religious, and intell connections inside Iraq, along with it being one of the major regional powers. Iraq will be too weak to assert its independence in the region, torn apart by sectarian mis-trust and warfare, along with a ravaged economy.

--The Palestinians will continue to go nowhere fast. Hamas will make electional gains, further weaking/discrediting Fatah and Abbas. Abbas will sink into complete irrelevance the Palestinians will be worse off yet refuse to admit it. Israel will continue to try and contain the terrorism eminanting from the Palestinian territories. Nothing new will change militarily. As long as Sharon can stay alive for a few more years, Kadima will become a very viable alternative party, as both Labor and Likud have seriously failed the Israeli public in the last 6 years. Sharon can project the ability of giving Israelis the best of both worlds: security and firmness with Arabs that Labor cannot match, yet willing to take real risks and make concessions for peace, something most of Likud is infamous for not being able to do (how much of Israel REALLY wanted Gaza, anyway)? If Sharon can stay alive, Kadima will do well in next years election; if he can find a viable number two who can project the image of being able to lead the party in case of Sharon’s death, Kadima may have a substantial effect on Israeli politics for decades to come.

UPDATE: And only a couple of days after I write that, Sharon became medically incapacitated. Go figure. Kadima has won the election and is in the final steps to forming a coalition government. When election time hit, it was after months of declining poll numbers; if Sharon had been around, in all probability a coaltion govt. would not have been necessary. Kadima still looks like it will be a major factor in Israeli politics for years to come, although it remains to be seen how strong its coalition govt. will be.

Militarily, things HAVE changed, in that it appears Al-Qaeda not only has an active presence in the Palestinian territories, but is in a position where it can strike, or at least bluff a strike, if their flyers warning of killing major Palestinian politicians is any indications. Al-Qaeda has had minimum impact on the Israel/Palestine issue in the past; to say the least, their presence in the territories, along with the victory of Hama and mounting irrelevance of Abbas and Fatah, is not welcome.

There's more, but it will have to wait.


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