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I think that most of the predictions are pretty solid, indeed, even prosaic. However, there are a few items that I take a bit of exception to.
For example, I think that the U. S. needs to exert some pretty strenuous measures to tamp down the burgeoning feud between Russia and the United States which, in my view, has been allowed to fester through a nasty combination of Russian nationalism and American indifference. Russia and the United States are the world’s premier nuclear powers. The other nuclear powers—the UK, France, China, India, Pakistan,putatively Israel, and even Iran should it, as both Gen. McCaffrey and I believe likely, enter the nuclear club—don’t have anything like the nuclear capabilities of either of our two countries and, consequently, at least tolerable relations between the two countries is of premier importance for the good of the world.
This statement also brought me up short:
North Korea will come apart. We must facilitate a soft landing for this dangerous regional nuclear power.
What in the world can we do (other than staying the heck out of the way) to facilitate a soft landing that China, Russia, and South Korea aren’t in a much better position than we to facilitate? A soft landing for North Korea is well within the vital national interests of China, for a host of reasons including national prestige and avoiding a stream of desparate North Korean refugees from streaming into already strained areas of China, and South Korea, since the two countries are, realistically speaking, a single country divided by a DMZ.
I note in passing that Gen. McCaffrey seems to predict an additional 34,000 U. S. casualties in Iraq as well as an additional expenditure of an additional $432 billion over the next three years. Cheery thought.
His observation on Pakistan is also cheering:
The situation in Pakistan is unstable. Our position in Afghanistan would be untenable without Pakistani support.
As I’ve said before I believe that Pakistani support is a fan dance and our position in Afghanistan has always been untenable.
I think he’s unnecessarily pessimistic about both Cuba and Venezuela. However, if the entirety of Latin America continues its drift away from proven methods for increasing economic growth and prosperity, the whole region could become a security, economic, humanitarian, and environmental nightmare.
I think he’s about right on Iran. I think Iran will have nuclear weapons within the next couple of years and neither the U. S. nor Israel will do much about it.
Your own analysis and predictions would be welcome in the comments.