World faces growing risk of conflict: US intelligence chief

The world faces a growing risk of conflict over the next 20 to 30 years amid an unprecedented transfer of wealth and power from West to East, the US intelligence chief has said.

Michael McConnell, the director of national intelligence, predicted rising demand for scarce supplies of food and fuel, strategic competition over new technologies, and the spread of weapons of mass destruction.

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Intel chief sees growing potential for conflict Reuters
Greater International Instability Among The Challenges Waiting AHN

Iranian Nuke Scientist: Weekend Quake was a Nuclear Test

A weekend 5.0 Richter earthquake in Iran was actually a nuclear bomb test, says an Iranian nuclear scientist claiming to be working on the project.

Israel Insider adds that the test/quake was actually the second in a series. Nine days ago, a 4.8 Richter scale event occurred, with its epicenter only five kilometers away from the weekend tremor.

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IAEA member: Iran weighing nuke work

Stratfor Fourth Quarter Forecast 2008

Three issues will dominate the final quarter of 2008: the global financial crisis, U.S. self-absorption and the Russian resurgence.

The financial crisis has its roots in an American liquidity meltdown. But as the days flow by, it will become obvious that the crisis is evolving as it spreads to the rest of the world, and its impact will be harsher and require more time for recovery elsewhere. For in the United States, actions have already been taken to rectify the liquidity imbalances, and although plenty can still go wrong and a recession is probably inevitable, the system is beginning to mend. In Europe, however, the liquidity shortage has unearthed a deep banking debacle.

Remediation is only now being started, and the problem is only now being identified, much less evaluated. The American recession will probably be over by year’s end, but Europe’s will likely stretch through most of 2009. And in East Asia, where the problem is neither liquidity nor banking but loss of export demand, recovery cannot even begin until the West begins demanding Asian goods en masse. The United States might have set the crisis running, but it will be Europe and Asia that really give it its legs.

Related Links:
Annual Forecast 2008: Beyond the Jihadist War — Introduction
Second Quarter Forecast 2008
Third Quarter Forecast 2008

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Bankrupt Rogues: Beware Failing Foes

Successful states may generate trouble, but failures produce catastrophes: Nazi Germany erupted from the bankrupt Weimar Republic; Soviet Communism’s economic disasters swelled the Gulag; a feckless state with unpaid armies enabled Mao’s rise.

Putin might treat sick economy with war.

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South Africa: The Next Failed State?

Will South Africa follow its brother Zimbabwe?

South Africa is at a crossroads. There is a growing crisis of confidence in the country’s future. Crime is out of control; corruption in high places is endemic (accountability practically nonexistent); state utilities are collapsing; the impartiality of the judiciary is threatened by unruly elements bent on imposing their will at whatever cost. Obviously a rocky road lies ahead. Will it end in another failed African state?

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Foreign Policy: The Failed States Index 2008

All told, sub-Saharan Africa is home to seven of this year’s 10 most the fact that thousands flee to neighboring Botswana and South Africa every week.

Rising Ambitions, Sinking Population

Russia is in the midst of a genuine demographic disaster from which its rulers have no obvious exit strategy. Although the Russia’s fortunes (and the Kremlin’s ambitions) have waxed on a decade of windfall profits from oil and gas, the human foundations of the Russian nation — the ultimate sources of the country’s wealth and power — are in increasingly parlous straits.

Despite net immigration since the end of Communism, the Russian Federation’s population is nearly seven million people smaller today than at the start of 1992.

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My Comment:

This is a very dangerous period for Russia. It’s population is declining. It’s nuclear weapons are degrading faster than they can keep up. America is at its doorstep. Oil reaches new lows just about every day. What to do?

Russia cannot tolerate being dominated by America. It may have no choice in this matter, but if a chance presents itself, then watch out for Russia lashing out at America.

Europe and America in the shadows as a new era dawns

‘The United States is not just a superpower. It is a super-dooper power,” I was told shortly after the end of the Cold War and the collapse of the Soviet Union. There was considerable truth in this claim. Never since the Roman Empire, under the Emperor Augustus 2,000 years ago, had one state appeared so strong and invincible.

That phase of world history may now be coming to an end. The changes we are seeing in the global economy are not only a threat and a challenge to the unique power of the United States. They may also be a watershed for the political, cultural and economic domination that Europe and America have enjoyed for centuries. This will be difficult for Europeans, as well as Americans, to understand and accept.

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China’s prime potential enemies

China’s military preparedness and strategic deployment of weaponry take into consideration a whole range of potential enemies, an analysis of internal People’s Liberation Army documents has revealed.

In order of importance – that is, the likelihood of actual military engagement – those enemies are Taiwan, the United States and Japan (as potential defenders of Taiwan), India, Vietnam, Southeast Asia, Russia and NATO.

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