Monday, October 26, 2015

The Tides of Wars

As our pivot to Asia runs into Chinese resistance and as the places we pivoted from--Europe and the Middle East--add to our defense worries rather than remain quiet to enable a Pacific emphasis, let's review where we might be heading.

A crisis with China is brewing as we resist Chinese efforts to claim large swathes of international waters.

Algeria is shaping the battlefield for ISIL's next major front (although to be fair, this is an AFRICOM--plus EUCOM for spillover--and not strictly a CENTCOM issue):

For the last three months the ruling Bouteflika clan has been mustering political support to defeat an anti-corruption (or at anti-Bouteflika) effort backed by leaders of the intelligence and counter-terrorism services. Corruption won and that was made clear with the recent announcement that the number of generals in the intelligence services would be reduced from 25 to six by the end of the year. The intelligence and counter-terrorism generals will now be selected more for their loyalty than their competence.

So the leaders of Algeria, in their infinite wisdom after having endured a bloody jihadi uprising in the 1990s, have chosen to increase the reason for popular unrest (corruption) while crippling the ability of the security services to prevent jihadis from exploiting the opportunity of corruption that could send idealistic young people into the streets calling for "democracy."

And Russia could be preparing for a small bit of aggression in Europe:

Civil unrest in Moldova is not easing. If anything, it is picking up. Demonstrations in the capital, Chisinau, have exploded over the last few months and are increasing in ferocity and in their intransigence. The discontent stems from the alleged theft of more than $1 billion from government coffers -- a full one-fifth of the tiny, poor country's gross domestic product.

The author wonders if we will see "little green men"--the Russian Spetsnaz without insignia on their uniforms--to organize a Crimea-like takeover (even if it devolves into a bloody Donbas-style slugfest).

You must admit that it is wonderful to live in an era when the tide of war is receding and climate change is our foreign policy priority.