Thursday, January 10, 2008

Open thread: what will 2008 bring?

The introduction to Stratfor's 2008 forecast make an interesting starting point for discussion. Is al-Qaeda really on its last legs? That might very well be true but irrelevant, as I argue in an earlier post. Russia is certainly at the center of dramatic developments in the middle of the Eurasian continent, where a new Great Game is under way. China has now become dependent on the world economy and its energy resources.  And the 2008 elections promise to be one of those events which will sample the subterranean currents that measure which way the wind blows. Here are the introductory paragraphs for what they are worth. Are these the forces that will shape 2008? Will it be true, as Stratfor argues that "this will be a year in which the United States achieves more success in its foreign policies than it has since the ousting of the Taliban from Afghanistan in late 2001. But the actions of others — most notably a rising Russia — rather than U.S. achievements will determine the tenor and fury of the next major global clash."

There are three major global processes under way that will continue to work themselves out in 2008. First, the U.S.-jihadist war is entering its final phase; the destruction of al Qaeda’s strategic capabilities now allows the United States to shift its posture — which includes leveraging the Sunni world to finish the job begun in Iraq — and enables Washington to begin drawing down its Middle Eastern forces. Second, an assertive Russia is re-emerging and taking advantage of the imbalance in U.S. power resulting from the war. Third, oil at historical highs and continued Asian — particularly Chinese — exports have created a massive redistribution of financial might that is reshaping the international financial architecture. These processes intersect with each other, as well as with a fourth phenomenon: It is a presidential election year in the United States, which remains the center of gravity of the international system. These are the trends that shape our global forecast.

Normally in an election year, U.S. attention on global affairs dwindles precipitously, allowing other powers to set the agenda. That will not be the case, however, in 2008. U.S. President George W. Bush is not up for re-election, and there is no would-be successor from the administration in the race; this frees up all of the administration’s bandwidth for whatever activities it wishes. Additionally, Bush’s unpopularity means that each of the White House’s domestic initiatives essentially will be dead on arrival in Congress. All of the Bush administration’s energy will instead be focused on foreign affairs, since such activities do not require public or congressional approval. Contrary to the conventional wisdom, 2008 will see the United States acting with the most energy and purpose it has had since the months directly after the 9/11 attack.

Nothing follows.

37 Comments:

Blogger El Jefe Maximo said...

China is dependent on the world economy and its energy resources, most of which, outside of Iran and Venezuela, lie in places more or less amenable to US pressure -- but the US is in debt to the eyes to China. . .which is arming.

I would argue that the US may have some foreign policy successes, but they are largely going to be paper on. Some kind of treaty will no doubt be produced in the Israeli/Palestinian dispute -- and like others, void before the ink is dry. Iraq will stay quiet -- as long as the US keeps blinking when Iran and Syria jump. In the long term, Iraq gets better as the Iraqi military and police get stronger.

I see the possibility of war with Iran as having lessened somewhat. I think the Bush people have punted on that one...and have decided to pursue the pacification of Iraq at the expense of provoking Iran. However, there is still the chance of some incident, witting or unwitting, (or perhaps provoked deliberately by the Pasdaran due to internal Iranian process we cannot understand) causing the two states to blunder into war, such as the confrontation in Hormuz several days back.

2008 may in fact be quiet, will be if the US has much to do with it. But even if some group does not try something violent to influence the US elections, 2009 and subsequent years are apt to be more interesting.

So much depends on the US elections. But the US has some work to do for the future. Outside of Britain, Japan and Australia, the US is basically without big power allies. The US badly needs to get on terms with India.

Maybe the jihadist war is ending. But what happens if a retooled and refocused Al Qaeda, or something like it, gets some kind of covert or overt big power backing ?

Sorry if this wanders

1/10/2008 06:28:00 AM  
Blogger exhelodriver said...

It is dangerous to equate success against al Queda in Iraq to success against al Queda/Islamic fascism worldwide.

1/10/2008 08:27:00 AM  
Blogger Fred said...

Since jihad is a permanent feature of Islam and a duty for all Muslims, until all the world is under Islamic Law, tell me how anyone can consider the defeat of AQ the end of that war?

I agree that developments in Russia are very meaningful. Russia's intentions are best viewed through the configuration of its actions abroad. Its alliance with Iran is very disturbing. Its alliance with Syria, very disturbing. It would appear that Russia considers it vital to its interests that Iran get nuclear weapons. From where I sit, it seems to me that Russia considers Iran an important proxy in its war with the United States (how else to read their intentions?)

I never believed that the Cold War was over. It only morphed into a different form. The nineties were a period of dormancy, much like Islam was in a period of relative dormancy after the Ottomans were stopped at the gates of Vienna in 1683.

1/10/2008 08:42:00 AM  
Blogger eggplant said...

Exhelodriver said:

"It is dangerous to equate success against al Queda in Iraq to success against al Queda/Islamic fascism worldwide."

I agree with Exhelodriver. Through focusing our resources on Iraq and Afghanistan, we have had success. However Iran remains a looming threat and Pakistan with its nuclear arsenal is decomposing before our eyes.

The Islamic fascists now know that simply destroying a couple builidings and murdering a few thousand people isn't good enough if they want to establish their world caliphate. The next time they come after us, it'll be for a knock-out punch, i.e. a really big nuke with a colbalt jacket in New York harbor. It'll take them a few years to set that up and also requires that we fall back to sleep under a liberal government. We almost certainly will oblige them with this last requirement.

Concerning what will happen this next year: I predict serious economic trouble. Quite frankly, I don't understand why the stock market didn't collapse last year. I suspect helicopter Ben Bernanke has been doing a very effective job at propping up the system, i.e. injecting cash into the stock market at the beginning of panics. One wonders how long this can last. The big question is whether the system can stay afloat before Hillary seals our fate. I find it hard to believe that it will. At least it looks like she can keep Obama and Edwards out of the White House. That's the only silver lining that I currently see.

1/10/2008 09:12:00 AM  
Blogger joe buz said...

Wretch,
Any idea what happened with Mark in Mexico? He abruptly quit posting after some critical posts.
thanks,

1/10/2008 12:39:00 PM  
Blogger John Lynch said...

You can't predict the future. The most important things that happen are large events that only seem inevitible in retrospect.

There are a number of things that could happen that would change everything, but don't seem likely.

War with China, another 9/11, a nuclear attack somewhere in the world, the fall of Pakistan, military defeat in Afganistan, revolution in Iran, the collapse of North Korea, the defeat of the insurgency in Iraq, etc.

These things seem very unlikely, but if they happened the world would be very different. I can't say any of them will (I can't predict) but we should keep in mind that very large events are what make history. We should be prepared for the worst, and should be open for whatever opportunities fall in our laps.

The biggest things that have happened in my life were the fall of Communism and 9/11. We didn't see either coming, but they shaped the world. Big events don't happen every year, but they happen sometime.

1/10/2008 01:34:00 PM  
Blogger Peter Grynch said...

1) Expect Brazil to become a major player on the world oil stage as a result of the massive new find off their coast. This could serve to rewrite the geo-political landscape in South America and act as a counterweight to Chavez's petrodollar-fueled troublemaking.

2) Russia and China will continue to act in their interests. Russia will continue to support Iran. China may decide to invade Taiwan after the Olympics. A Jimmy Carteresque President greatly increases the probability of foreign mischeif on their parts.

3) Expect closer ties with India. We both would benefit if the world's largest democracy and the world's most successful one worked together.

4) Africa will continue its descent into anarchy. Robert Mugabe will be overthrown in Zimbabwe. Kenya may back away from the brink for now at least.

5) Ethnic violence will escalate in France and Europe. Sharia law will be in effect in many areas in the EU.

6) Nuclear power will continue to gain support as an eco-friendly non-CO2-emmitting way of producing electricity. The US will lag the world in building new plants. China will be the most agressive new plant builder.

7) Support for ethanol will fall off a cliff after the November elections. It was never a viable energy source, just a hidden farm subsidy.

1/10/2008 01:46:00 PM  
Blogger eggplant said...

Peter Grynch said:

"Expect Brazil to become a major player on the world oil stage as a result of the massive new find off their coast."

I view the oil find in Brazil with skepticism. I suspect the oil is so deep in the ocean that it is not economical to extract.

The economics for petroleum is relatively simple: The energy required to extract and refine the oil must be significantly less than the energy contained in the extracted oil.

1/10/2008 02:09:00 PM  
Blogger pelted said...

Fred, even something like a Bernard Lewis treatment can tell you that there are multiple interpretations of "jihad" in islam, multiple intellectual traditions, and Wahhabism's reading is only one of them. In any case, I don't think the tens of thousands of muslims who live in Michigan, for example, are engaged in anything like the jihad (in the conquering interpretation) that Al Queda is engaged in, do you? Hopefully not.

1/10/2008 03:23:00 PM  
Blogger Fred said...

pelted,

Here are a couple of suggestions, in case you are curious, about the "multiple meanings" of jihad. Go on over to JihadWatch.org and regularly read Robert Spencer and Hugh Fitzgerald's articles. Robert Spencer is a scholar of Islamic history and its classical texts and scriptures. The other suggestion I have for you is to undertake the tedious and unpleasant task of reading the Qur'an and some English translations of ahadith. Read about the life and career of Muhammad. With respect to Islamic scripture, find out if authoritative and consensus views among orthodox Islamic scholars admit of multiple meanings of jihad.

The reason why taqiyya and kitman work so successfully with Westerners who have come out of our elite institutions is because the Muslims know that elite, educated Westerners do not even know their own Bible and theological traditions, let alone Islamic ones. Religion and theology truly are looked down on by the people that matter in our societies. It's considered akin to "slumming."

Finally, the vast majority of Muslims do not know what is in the Qur'an because they don't know classical Arabic. Muslims are told in the mosque that the only way they may read the Qur'an is to recite it in its own language. So, unless you know classical Arabic, you are reciting words you do not understand. But, you ARE told that those words are right from the mind of Allah and conveyed to Muhammad by the Angel Gabriel. They cannot be changed, arranged differently, or interpreted in any way but literal.

Any Muslim who tells you jihad does not mean what it means in Surah 9's Verse of the Sword either does not know what is in the Qur'an OR is indeed practicing taqiyya and kitman. You need to look up those terms. I am not going to tell you what they mean, because I suspect if I do you will also dispute their meaning. If you get that information on your own, I think it may just launch you to find out more.

1/10/2008 04:57:00 PM  
Blogger bobal said...

A moderate muslim is one out of ammo. H. Kissinger

2008 brings a nuclear armed Iran.

1/10/2008 06:07:00 PM  
Blogger Kinuachdrach said...

What does 2008 bring? Surprises!

The biggest surprise of all would be is there were NO surprises in 2008.

How about a new Black Death, wiping out 1/3 of the global population and completely reshuffling the deck? Or the undeniable start of the now-overdue Next Ice Age?

1/10/2008 06:19:00 PM  
Blogger Mətušélaḥ said...

Energy independence will be the new political and economic Messiah, and rightly so.

1/10/2008 06:28:00 PM  
Blogger What is "Occupation" said...

2008

France will continue to burn, at least 300 cars a night by black rockers

Germany will have fun with Turkish Black Rockers

Sweden, Norway, Switzerland, Belgium & Spain? More problems with Black Rockers

Turkey? Problems with Black Rockers on the inside, PKK on the outside

Lebanon? Will have problem with Squatting Black Rockers in the South

Israel IS having problems with the black rockers in Gaza...

do we see a pattern here?

1/10/2008 07:33:00 PM  
Blogger Papa Ray said...

Fred. Good idea on getting people to research Islam. I have been trying to get my friends and even some of my not friends to do the same.

With quite of bit of sucess.

I hate predictions because usually they are wrong and sometimes can bias events.

But I'm sure that there will be much more killing, burning and torture done by aQ and also by the Persians.

I think that the Persians are trying to start something to enable them and the world press to destroy any good feelings that we may have won in the last year and to help bury President Bush in problems so that he can't employ any meaningful policys.

I'm sure that they will continue to recieve help from the liberals all over the world, especially here in the U.S.

I'm sure that South America is going to be ruled by unrest, riots and maybe even revolution.

I'm sure that China has set itself up where any biological outbreak will kill millions. This could also happen in Pakistan and India.

I'm sure our Space Program will continue to slip while American Civilian Corporations space efforts will literally take off.

And I'm sure I will get older, weaker and even harder to get along with.
With the exception of course for my Sweet Sarah and her new sister Sweet Hanna.

I'm sure I'll drop by here often as I always have to read and learn.

As long as I can.

Papa Ray

1/10/2008 08:38:00 PM  
Blogger dla said...

GWB has kicked Al-Qaeda's butt non-stop. GWB has ignored the polls, has taken the brunt of the American press, put up with old idiots like George McGovern and younger ones like Harry Reid calling for his impeachment, all the while continuing the course. Indeed, GWB has done the heavy lifting.

Al-Qaeda worked hard to get the Democrat loons like Sen. Reid and Rep Pelosi in power, and Al Zaharwi even had the nerve to remind them.

So my question is this, in whose best interest is it to get the Democrats in the White house?

What will 2008 bring? Well if Al-Qaeda is smart they'll be quiet and get the anti-war crowd elected.

1/10/2008 09:58:00 PM  
Blogger eggplant said...

Papa-ray said:

"I'm sure our Space Program will continue to slip while American Civilian Corporations space efforts will literally take off."

The government Space Program is in serious trouble. The Orion spacecraft is slowly morphing into a larger version of the old Apollo command module (water landing only). The lunar aspect of Bush's Vision for Space Exploration (VSE) is too political. If the Ares-V launcher gets cancelled (likely under Hillary) then VSE will officially be in the trash can. The unmanned Mars program is also in big trouble because of the Mars Science Lab (MSL) which is scheduled for launch in 2009. MSL's design is falling apart at the seams. Many of the people involved are wondering aloud why MSL isn't being cancelled. The current gossip is MSL has gone too far to be cancelled, i.e. better to have it crash on Mars than send it to the Smithsonian as a white elephant. After MSL crashes on Mars ($1.7 billion), the Mars program will be gutted and most of the guys involved getting the sack. The non-government space stuff is mostly baloney. Kistler Aerospace is almost bankrupt. The only real player is Space-X. Unfortunately Space-X goes away after Elon Musk runs out of money or patience. Not a happy time for those of us who see mankind's future being in space.

dla said:

"GWB has kicked Al-Qaeda's butt non-stop. GWB has ignored the polls, has taken the brunt of the American press, put up with old idiots ... calling for his impeachment..."

I totally agree! GWB will occupy the same pedestal with Harry S. Truman. History will reward GWB for his courage and vision.

"What will 2008 bring? Well if Al-Qaeda is smart they'll be quiet and get the anti-war crowd elected."

(Un)fortunately al-Qaeda would rather be evil than smart. The anti-war moonbats will back al-Qaeda anyway because they're idiots.

1/10/2008 11:03:00 PM  
Blogger Mad Fiddler said...

A lot of the problems we have seem to be at least aggravated by the relentless delusional smugness of Westerners who have latched onto Trans-National Progressivism as their religion.

An excellent example of the sort of intellectual fraud bedevilling the world is George Lakoff, a tenured professor of linguistics at University of California Berkeley. Along with several other UC colleagues of similar politics, he founded the Rockridge Institute in 2004. The institute is described as offering non-partisan assistance to progressives in getting their message out. (I love the irony of that description.)

In a 2004 interview in the UCBerkeleyNews he is quoted as saying:

"The background for Rockridge is that conservatives, especially conservative think tanks, have framed virtually every issue from their perspective. They have put a huge amount of money into creating the language for their worldview and getting it out there. Progressives have done virtually nothing."

Asked by the interviewer, "Why do conservatives appear to be so much better at framing?" he responds:

"Because they've put billions of dollars into it. Over the last 30 years their think tanks have made a heavy investment in ideas and in language. In 1970, [Supreme Court Justice] Lewis Powell wrote a fateful memo to the National Chamber of Commerce ... Powell's agenda included getting wealthy conservatives to set up professorships, setting up institutes on and off campus where intellectuals would write books from a conservative business perspective, and setting up think tanks."

Lakoff continues along this line positing a titanic conservative conspiracy which he reckons has for decades been secretly placing and funding conservative talk show hosts: "They [the conservatives] set up the Heritage Foundation in 1973, and the Manhattan Institute after that. ... And now, as the New York Times Magazine quoted Paul Weyrich, who started the Heritage Foundation, they have 1,500 conservative radio talk show hosts."

You really need to read his interview to appreciate the enormity of this man's delusional view of how the world works. He is not at all shy about detailing his fantastic vision of how conservative foundations fund their wholly-owned think-tanks, buy up or build from scratch TV studios, even "hire intellectuals, set aside money to buy a lot of books to get them on the best-seller lists, hire research assistants for their intellectuals so they do well on TV, and hire agents to put them on TV." [Yes, I'm quoting Lakoff from his interview here.]

This might be forgiveable as pathetic ignorance, but there's much more. In the interview, and in much of his writing and public appearances, he repeatedly characterizes conservatives as following what he calls "the STRICT PARENT" or "Strict Father" model. As he defines them, conservatives subscribe to a system in which children are naturally bad and must be routinely punished and painfully disciplined for their own good, wives must be kept in their place, and "... children who remain dependent (who were spoiled, overly willful, or recalcitrant) should be forced to undergo further discipline or be cut free with no support to face the discipline of the outside world."

By extreme contrast In Lakoff's world, "Progressives" model their behavior on a "nurturant parent family" in which children are seen to be GOOD from birth, and the parents job is to treat them with empathy and encourage responsible behavior. "...liberals conceptual system of the 'nurturant parent' " asserts Lakoff, "has as its highest value helping individuals who need help."

According to Lakoff, the most important goal of the conservative is to maintain and preserve the "strict father" system.

In the more narrow arena of Politics, his claim is that Conservatives use their vast wealth to cleverly frame all public debate and discussions so as to subtly make the public view the conservative viewpoint with sympathy and favorable regard.

Simply, by his definition, Conservatives are selfish, mean-spirited and fundamentally BAD people; Progressives are generous, brave, sensitive, and GOOD people.

Pay no attention to all the Democrats that repeatedly re-elect Ted Kennedy after he showed his generosity, bravery, sensitivity and goodness at Chappaquiddick.

Mind you, this man has a Ph.D. in Linguistics, has studied under Noam Chomsky, and is regarded as a towering intellect to be consulted and revered for his insights and keen analytical skills.

It really is sad to me that such a fifth-rate mind can be held in such high regard for such conspicuous sophistry. Unfortunately it is a fundamental aspect of the delusional LEFT that they regard themselves as intrinsically smarter than the rest of us. It is an old selling point for the movement: "Liberalism is the natural value system of a good person, therefor any good person will want to JOIN the Liberal movement; conversely, anyone who denies the assertions of the Liberal Party must be a BAD PERSON."

Convinced of their superiority, they are entitled and obliged to instruct and rule the rest of us. Loss of an election can only be the consequence of criminal conservative rigging of the electoral process; etc.

So, coming in 2008...

I predict in 2008 Mr. Lakoff and his disciples will be worshipped and emulated by a growing multitude of poop-heads. If a Democrat gains the White House, I predict Lakoff will be elevated to a cabinet post --- say, Secretary of Benevolent Wisdom --- where he can pontificate till his pointy widdle head expwodes [sic] as he counters the evil plots of the mean-old conservatives.

1/10/2008 11:53:00 PM  
Blogger RWE said...

An Indian company just announced that it is bringing out a $2,500 car that is intended to bring transportation to the world’s masses.

That is yet another considerable demand to be placed on the world’s oil supplies. Even today, there are many millions of largely productive and mainly law abiding people who are dependant on a stable and low priced supply of oil. And their patience with the antics of the Arabs and neo-Persians is wearing very thin. The vast majority of such people would prefer that the U.S. not only invade all the oil-producing countries of the Middle East but also exterminate those lands’ indigenous populations and replace them with hard working, no-nonsense Americans, South Koreans, Filipinos, New Zealanders, Mexicans and Chinese. The numbers of such frustrated oil consumers continues to grow, not decrease, and if the Indian “Volkswagon” is the least bit successful the rate of increase is about to undergo a step function.

At exactly what point will there be a “Enough of this crap!” response from the rest of the world, who is in the process of concluding that life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness is only valid for the people who really deserve it?

How long before the cry becomes overwhelming, "Kill'em all and let God sort 'em out!"

1/11/2008 04:39:00 AM  
Blogger slimslowslider said...

rwe. I agree. It really should be considered "The World's Oil". Something this important to the survival and success of the present day human race should not be controlled by the likes of the "Arabs and neo-Persians".

1/11/2008 05:44:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Sure glad to see tha aQ has had its' hat handed to it in Pakistan, the only mussulman country with nuclear weapons manufacturing capability. Totaly displaced and on the run, Osama and Doc Z.
No more a threat in the battle of ideas than Lenin or Marx.

That is good to hear, how well $10 Billion USD in US assistance to the Dictator has played out.

Yep, Mr Bush and Team43 has taken the fight to aQ in its' heartland, beat 'em down until they couldn't even prepare to stage a spring offensive, in Afghanistan.

Not really any need to send in the Marines, just a little training exercise for the Three Thousand.

1/11/2008 06:51:00 AM  
Blogger eggplant said...

Mad Fiddler said:

"An excellent example of the sort of intellectual fraud bedevilling the world is George Lakoff, a tenured professor of linguistics at University of California Berkeley."

I graduated from UC Berkeley in 1976. There were heaps of academics like Lakoff at UC back then (they constituted a large part of the background noise). Most universities feel obligated to have at least one tamed Marxists in the faculty. No real clue why, e.g. why not have at least one tamed monarchist, fascist, anarchist or kleptocrat? Supposably, the universities maintain the Marxists as an exercise in "academic diversity". However most sub-Sahara African states are run by kleptocrats. If universities want to be truly representative they should feel obligated to have at least one kleptocrat as a professor.

1/11/2008 08:57:00 AM  
Blogger eggplant said...

Slimslowslider said...

"It really should be considered "The World's Oil"."

Claiming a nation's assets as the "World's asset" puts one on a slippery slope. Australia controls most of the world's high grade iron ore. Should the "world" seize Australia's iron ore because it's the "World's iron"? That's the standard argument that Socialist governments like to make when they steal a foreign corporation's assets, i.e. it belongs to the "People".

1/11/2008 09:04:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

We are the World,
that makes it ok

1/11/2008 09:18:00 AM  
Blogger slimslowslider said...

understood eggplant. would you feel the same if said people we sitting on top of the world's uranium supply? Thier use/misuse of this utterly valuable and important resource is causing the world tremendous problems and instability. If a criminal inherits a large sum of money and uses it to commit crimes and corruption it is not a socialist ideology to find a way to take it from them.

1/11/2008 09:28:00 AM  
Blogger Dan said...

"Claiming a nation's assets as the "World's asset" puts one on a slippery slope."

Bingo. It's their oil...and our land, copper, gold, silver, etc. is OURS. They have the right to sell it or not, as we do.

As for 2008:

1) Global warming, or at least the idea that man is the primary cause, will be dealt a couple of hard kicks in the rear by further scientific studies being released that will show other causes as primary and man's influence as negligible.

2) Iran will NOT go nuclear, or at least not publicly.

3) Iraq will be nearly completely pacified by the end of the year, and the new hotspot will be Pakistan.

4) Pakistan will erupt into something that looks very much like a civil war, but may mostly be AQ and a few of the NWFP tribes against the rest of Pak.

5) Britney Spears will end up in the hospital or some sort of treatment. (I had to get at least ONE of these things right.)

6) Thompson will do much better in the primaries than he has thus far, and may well secure the nomination.

7) If he secures the nomination, he'll be our new president.

8) There will be major breakthroughs in battery technology and nuclear fusion. Both will take multiple years to bring to market, but the breakthroughs will happen this year.

9) I will catch a walleye this summer weighing at least 6 pounds.

10) I concur with eggplant that there will be SERIOUS economic trouble...BEFORE the general election. The stock market will tank, the dollar will free-fall, and there will be a rush on gold and silver.

I already put my money where my mouth is on that last one. I've moved a significant portion of my savings to a gold account, and I'm trying to figure out whether I want to actually convert it to physical gold and stash it somewhere on my property. I suspect it's going to get really rough later this year (midsummer or a little later?). Hold on to your hats.

1/11/2008 09:46:00 AM  
Blogger bobal said...

Where do you live, Dan?

1/11/2008 10:24:00 AM  
Blogger rjschwarz said...

I suspect Al Queda is finished. Muslims love a strong horse and they have been shown to be weak. There only chance is to take Pakistan which I hope doesn't happen.

I suspect that a newly branded jihadist group will appear (with many of the same members) and that group will target the middle east primarily.

1/11/2008 10:46:00 AM  
Blogger rjschwarz said...

If I were a Jihadist leader I would totally change my attitude in Europe and let demographics take over. Don't push and create a backlash before the tipping point.

I'd concentrate my forces in taking over Libya. I'd then work to subvert Sudan and Chad. All three are fairly weak and underpopulated. Then I would declare a Caliphate and see if I could work with Egypt and Algeria or if I wanted to subvert them.

I'd welcome Muslims from anywhere even if they were expelled. I would try to avoid provoking the West because the goal is to control the Muslim world first and the West will kill you and overthrow your nation which goes against my plans.

1/11/2008 10:50:00 AM  
Blogger RWE said...

No, it’s not The World’s Oil. And there is no better way to mismanage anything than to make it “everyone’s.” As to who owns it … well, I would say the kleptomaniac tribe leaders in the middle east have no greater claim to it than do the Western oil companies that discovered and developed it, and probably a lot less. After all, at least the oil companies are publicly traded and thus belong to lots of people.

By the way, the land in the U.S. does not belong to the “white people” and the Nazis were a master race meant to rule the whole world, too. No one had a right to use force to change the ownership there, either.

It is said that the Europeans conquered the world in a fit of absence of mind in the 18th and 19th centuries. It took an even bigger absence of mind to hand the keys for the oilfields to those few tribes in the Middle East. The earliest known example of PC, if you ask me.

But my real point was that the oil reserves of the Middle East will be of increasing concern to increasing numbers of people, and some will have far less patience with those “poor Bedouins who were shooting at some food and up came a bubblin’ crude” than we have. At least Jethro wasn’t raised to be a suicide bomber.

1/11/2008 11:09:00 AM  
Blogger Charles said...

I think the biggest news is nanosolar's new manufacturing plant that produces photovoltaics for .30@watt and sells them for$1.00@ watt. To grasp the significance of this its helpful to note that the cheapest way to make electricity is with coal for $2.1@watt plus transportation & cleanup. Once full production starts early next year, it will create 430 megawatts’ worth of solar cells a year—more than the combined total of every other solar plant in the U.S.--and about the out output of a small coal plant. All production is booked for the next 18 months. However, its easy to see that photovoltaics at Nanosolar price points will make it easy to get financing to scale up to 50-100 plants just like the one now in production.

Every desert in the world suddenly is a spindletop of solar power. You can plunk a town down anywhere the sun shines bright--which is everywhere in the desert-- and have unlimited cheap power.

Now all you need is water...but you get the picture.

I'm going out to Las Vegas for desalination conference for various government agencies interested in desalination research. I use the photovoltaic story as a jumping off point to urge for more focus on water desalination research.

1/11/2008 11:10:00 AM  
Blogger always right said...

I am not as sharp or as smart as most people in the BC.

However, even I can safely bet two certain things in 2008
(1) msm will still mislead, obfuscate, and nothing is too low for them to elect a D
(2) mooslems in ME are going to be “outraged” and have riots/demonstrations over at least half a dozen “incidents”. And someone(s) in the West are going to bait them.

1/11/2008 11:15:00 AM  
Blogger Dan said...

"Where do you live, Dan?"

Heh. I guess the walleye reference gave me away. I'm a proud resident of the People's Republic of Minnesotastan.

1/11/2008 11:57:00 AM  
Blogger pelted said...

Fred, what makes you think I haven't looked into this? Plus, you make my point for me when you talk about the vast majority of muslims. Basically, you're making the extremists' arguments for them. Smaaaaaart! Leviticus 11:11 says eating shellfish is an abomination, so does that mean I'm a bad Christian b/c I eat it? Give me a break. You're using the extremist interpretations of Islam, which are (as ALL extremist interpretations are, in ALL religions), based securely in text (bonus points for you!!), to minimize the vast numbers of muslims who don't subscribe to them, apparently so you can pretend all muslims are (or have the potential to be?) extremist. Or do I somehow read your point wrong? Of course they have the potential to be. Everyone in all religions has the potential to be silly. If Christians read the Old Testament seriously, we'd be putting people to death all over the place. (Because not all Christians believe that the New Testament supercedes the old --...but I'm sure you know that.) You're totally silly, and what's worse, you think you're not.

1/11/2008 12:15:00 PM  
Blogger eggplant said...

Slimslowslider said:

"would you feel the same if said people we sitting on top of the world's uranium supply? Thier use/misuse of this utterly valuable and important resource is causing the world tremendous problems and instability."

I don't like the Saudis and don't particularly enjoy defending them. However for decades the price of crude oil has been ridiculously cheap, e.g. cheaper than bottled water. The extreme cheapness of petroleum has actually put us in a tight spot because there are no alternative energy sources anywhere near as cheap (our whole economy is based upon the geologic fluke of petroleum). The Saudis realized early-on that they were adding no real value to a resource that they acquired through blind luck. They correctly understood that if their profit margin was too large then someone would come in with a large military force and take the oil from them. To the Saudi's credit, they did not "choke on greed".

My big quarrel with the Saudis is they used their modest profits to fund a world wide system of madressa's with the intended agenda of wiping us out. That was not nice of them. Would it have been worth the cost of conquering them to prevent this (war is very expensive)? Assuming they don't nuke a major city in the end (big assumption), the answer is probably "no".

1/11/2008 12:35:00 PM  
Blogger always right said...

After giving this more thought, I still don't have predictions for 2008. But I will venture to say the years since 2001 to 2007 is the "turning point" in the West vs. islamic world history.

What the mooslems will or have learned learned, and are going to change their tactics:
(1) Do NOT provoke a united US, i.e. no more 9/11 type of attack. Of course they want to see an even bloodier attack, but they will not attempt another similar stunt to have every American rally around our leader. Nutjobs will have their own goal of bringing back the 12th imam from the well, but others will dissuade (stop) it. Note, this prediction does not include “opportune” incidents in smaller scale.
(2) Use the Western systems to defeat the West becomes their top priority. Follow and speed up the process in UK, europe, and Canada. Increase the demands and levels of grievances, manufacture more when necessary. Currently, they are concentrating on establishing a foothold in US until certain critical mass.
(3) Stir up conflicts elsewhere under the radar, AQ Africa for example, when our attentions are diverted in Pakistan/Warizstan, Russia/China.

Nothing new or brilliant really. Just as an inevitable conclusion.

1/11/2008 03:49:00 PM  
Blogger Kinuachdrach said...

You can plunk a town down anywhere the sun shines bright--which is everywhere in the desert-- and have unlimited cheap power.

Unlimited power -- as long as the sun shines. Which it does for about half the day.

Solar power does not mean much until we have a way of storing that energy, so that we can use it when we need it. (Often not when the sun is shining, like at night).

Mother Nature stored solar energy as coal, oil & gas. Once we have the technology to make synthetic oil using sunlight and algae (for example), where do you think the best place will be for those huge synthetic oil plants. Lots of sunshine, supply of salt water, established communications?

Kinda, sorta sounds like the Middle East, doesn't it? The Middle East will be the Saudi Arabia of solar energy.

1/11/2008 04:19:00 PM  

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