Monday, November 27, 2006

A Brief View

The crazy part of the year is here. Beginning with Thanksgiving weekend the workplace will slowly grind to a halt; stopping completely during the final two weeks of December. The world of course will continue its celestial journey and on the ground events will continue to unfold. The Democrats are marshalling their complaints against the Bush administration; fundamentally a dead issue as Bush cannot be re-elected and the Democrats control Congress.

The KGB, now known as the FSB, is providing fodder for novelists and screen writers in what appears to be a takeover of Russia. Czar Vladimir Putin I and his cronies are robbing the country blind and murdering anyone who objects or causes scrutiny of the FSB. The lingering death by poison of a former Putin associate is only the latest victim of this purge. There have been at least three other political murders apparently sponsored by the state in the last few years. It is doubtful that any real elections will take place in Russia for the foreseeable future. While this behavior tracks well with Russian psychology the implications for world stability are not so clear. Russia has always been dominated by a strong leader, never has there been a time when democracy of any form has flourished. Such ingrained attitudes make it easier to accept a fait accompli than it is to protest it.

In Iraq the situation is degrading into a “last man standing” scenario in which the political will of the American people is so weak that it is very likely that many Sunnis will be exterminated in the next few years. The Shia will indulge in ethnic cleansing on scale not imagined since the Second World War. The question will then be what is Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, et al to do? A Pan-Arab war would devastate the region but will injure Iran and Iraq more. With Turkey on one side and the rest of the Sunnis on the other a squeeze play would result in nuclear retaliation; the rest can be imagined.

The world economy is chugging along with China and India realizing their financial power by simple virtue of their populations. This growth will be impossible for the existing governments to control and so more turmoil there. China is hoping for a good PR result from the Olympic Games but they are so corrupt that only a morbid curiosity about how China will deal with the influx of foreigners will be of interest.

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