Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Geo-Political Pivot Points

Stratfor (subscription highly recommended) considers this past week one for the history books. George Friedman, head of Stratfor, says the following:

There are rare occasions when two distinct geopolitical processes reach a pivot point at the same time, that precise place where the evolution of a process takes a critical turn. Last week saw three such points. In Iraq, the security network around the guerrilla leadership appeared to be breaking wide open. In Israel, Palestinian Islamic Jihad -- and the Islamist radicals -- made its decision and its move on the peace process. The Bush-Putin summit ended and was followed by a Russian announcement that Moscow would sell nuclear technology to Iran. The history of the U.S.-jihadist war, the Israeli-Palestinian relationship and Russia's relationship to the United States all depend on how the pivot of history swings.

Consider the set of outcomes that hangs in the balance. There are three pivots, each with two possible results. So there are six possible outcomes -- from peace in Iraq and Israel and stable relations with Russia, to continued insurgency in Iraq, intifada in Israel and a mini-Cold War with the Russians. It can be a combination as well. What is clear is that we are at a decisive point in the post-Sept. 11 world. When three issues converge like this, it usually means that old issues are going away and new ones are coming up fast.

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