India, Israel, Iran, N. Korea
Things have heated up dramatically in the last 36 hrs. Savage barbarism on the trains of Mumbai has massacred hundreds of people, while Hezbollah has opened a 2nd front with Israel which has picked up the gauntlet. Iran and N. Korea continue to play the great powers off of each other. Many threads - all connected by what?
All of these are intended to keep the democracies off balance. Centers of power can only pay attention to a given number of crises - China used the Cuban missile crisis to invade India in 1962, and the US could not come to India's aid till weeks after the fact. Israel is perfectly capable of handling Hamas and Hezbollah but are they merely opening acts to soften up defenses in advance of Iran's still mysterious plans? India made a business decision in summer 1999 and again late 2001 not to destroy Pakistan (after Pakistan's invasion of Kargil and after the bombing of India's Parliament), rationalizing the economic cost of a final, frontal assault as too high and choosing a battle of attrition, which it is now paying for. The US focuses on Iran one week and is distracted by N. Korea the next.
Something big is afoot, I fear. Two months before 9/11, a few phone calls from Osama sent the US Navy rushing out of Middle East ports, and 2 days before 9/11, OBL had a principal opponent of the Taliban, Ahmad Shah Massoud assassinated. I have no idea how to divine the Islamazoids' intent nor of course Kim Jr.'s loony mind, but I hardly think the flareup of the last few weeks is coincidence.
What should we do? When the opponent has you off balance, best to make him get off-balance too. Summon the democracies and use a new organizational vehicle to strangulate Iran and Syria and North Korea and Pakistan. Name the enemy of Islamic fundamentalism and make it clear to the Saudis, Egyptians, and the rest what needs to be done to the zoid financiers and preachers. Make China responsible for North Korea - we should leave S. Korea which is capable of defending itself and where we are unwelcome, and let go of Japan's leash when it comes to defence and nuclear weaponization. The Cold War depended on the US keeping its countries in line and the Russians their countries in line; it would be nice if the Treasury department was not in hock to the Chinese so that we could implement such a strategy for the Korean peninsula without financial pressure.
As for Pakistan, the day of reckoning will be costlier the longer it is put off. Musharraf is not an ally, only an Arafat with a suit and tie. India and the US have to start coming to terms with what it will take solve the Pakistan problem - a full-scale invasion, defanging of the nuclear sites, and eventual breakup of Pakistan into its 4 states. It is not better to have a few hundred people die every few months.