Friday, August 25, 2006

Hurtling towards disaster

I have a rough theory of world conflict that guides my world view. The theory, in brief, is this: Conflict and war is inevitable. Humans, try as they may, are imperfect and incapable of "world peace." Therefore, we must manage conflict as carefully as possible. At times, the world acts like a boiling pot of water with the lid sealed on tight. All looks pretty good from the outside until the pot starts shaking and then explodes. Small, justified wars can reduce the heat being applied and avert disaster. I believe we were following a strategy that could reduce the odds of a major global conflict or nuclear disaster until we smacked headlong into North Korea and Iran. With those two, we've gone wobbly and the heat is building again.

Because we've lost our backbone as it relates to Iran and North Korea, I sometimes sense that we've lost some control over future conflicts that will find us whether we like it or not. The fear is less that Iran will acquire nuclear weapons but more that they have no qualms about using nuclear weapons, and the use of those weapons will start spinning global actions out of anyone's control. All of the 'respected' intelligence says that Iran is a few years away from acquiring nuclear weapons yet. But what if, and this shouldn't take any stretch of the imagination to conceive, the intelligence is somehow wrong and an Iranian nuclear birth or surprise is just off on the horizon? Once that day arrives, whether it be next week, next year, or 2010, I fear we will be perilously close to hurtling towards disaster.

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