Friday, October 3, 2008

"Axis of Oil" - Slippery Situation for Next President

The next American president will have a full plate. On top of everything else, there's the "Axis of Oil," Russia, Venezuela, and Iran; and North Korea, with it's on-again, off-again nuclear program, extreme poverty, and possibly-dead leader.

The term "Axis of Oil" has been around for several years, at least, and means different things, depending on who's using it. This week, it's the CIA director, Michael Hayden, using "Axis of Oil" to mean Russia, Iran, Venezuela, and their common interest as oil-rich nations.

He says that the Axis of Oil, and fragile North Korea, are some of the top security issues the next president will have.

According to Mr. Hayden, North Korea's restart of its nuclear program may be for real, or a political gesture. North Korea's leaders are very good at applying diplomatic pressure, so removing U.N. seals could be a matter of raising the ante. Or, they may really think that they need nuclear bombs to protect themselves from American imperialism. In which case, it's anyone's guess what city will be vaporized first.

About Iran, Mr. Hayden says that the Ayatollahs could have nuclear bombs around the middle of the next decade. Or, they could delay their program. On the other hand, they could speed it up. It's their call.

I'm a little more comfortable with atomic Ayatollahs, than with Kim Jong Il deciding what to do with nuclear bombs. As I see it:
  • The Ayatollahs would rather have live converts than a nuclear afterglow, so they're a little less likely to have a fit and start lobbing A-bombs
  • North Korea may not be so comparatively rational
    • Kim Jong Il has inspired cracks like "Our Dictator is Crazier than Your Dictator"
    • He may be dead or incapacitated, in which case a North Korean general with less sense than Dear Leader might decide to use his bombs, to
      • Defend North Korea or
      • Show how strong he was
I wouldn't be all that surprised if downtown Tokyo, or Sydney, or Anchorage, disappeared with a bright flash sometime in the next ten years or so.

The next American president, and everyone else, will be living in a world which most likely will have:
  • Putin, Chavez, and Ahmadinejad on a petrodollar high
  • Nuclear weapons controlled by
    • The Ayatollahs and
    • Either an arguably-crazy dictator or the generals scrambling to take his place
Whatever else can be said about the immediate future, it's not going to be boring.

In the news: (I'd have more, but this was a Fox News exclusive interview, and the other sources I found referred back to this.)

4 comments:

English Bulldogs For Sale said...

well this is bad for whole US

Brian, aka Nanoc, aka Norski said...

English Bulldogs For Sale,

True enough.

Actually, the next few decades may be more exciting than usual for most countries.

Brigid said...

That basement apartment for rent down the street is looking really tempting right now.

Thank goodness I don't live near any major population centers.

Brian, aka Nanoc, aka Norski said...

Brigid,

'Back when I was your age' - The threat posed by a possibly-dead Asian dictator and sword-wielding religious fanatics, all armed with at most a few dozen nuclear weapons and very limited long-range delivery systems is rather trivial, compared to my 'good old days,' when the Soviet Union had enough nuclear munitions (but not the fleet) to start a small interplanetary war, as did America.

The next decade or so will be anything but boring, but I expect that we'll pull through.

To put this in perspective, the 1930s global crop failure was a major crisis - and we survived.

Also, we learned from that. During my lifetime, there have been years with worse weather than the thirties - but without the disastrous dust storms. The reason is improved tillage techniques, mostly.

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