Friday, February 04, 2005

Cosa Nostradamus

This is one of those posts where I make predictions for the sole reason that I want to be able later to say, "I TOLD you so!"

  1. By January 1, 2007, Iran and Iraq will have a mutual defense pact, if they're not already completely politically unified. (We'll refer to this later as the "Anschluss of the Mullahs" prediction.)
  2. By January 1, 2007, the EU countries will either disinvite us from NATO or drop their own NATO membership because the OSCE has become sufficient to their needs and more influential elsewhere in the world with the decline of American diplomacy. (Let's label this one the "Ideological Idiots of Irrelevancy" prediction.)
  3. By July 1 of this year, having sold the country on the idea of tax-free stock funds,* George Bush will be softening the electorate up for what he really wants: a national sales tax and flat income tax. (The "Revenge of the Cato Nerds" prediction.)
Justifications will follow Real Soon Now, in the event I just happen to feel inspired to write them.

* What? You didn't know that was the purpose of this whole Social Security piratization proposal?


At Monday, 07 February, 2005, Blogger mdl said...

No way will Iraq and Iran be politically unified so soon. Forget about politics, forget about religion. Historically, geographically, and culturally, they're too distinct. I could see the northeastern part of Iraq breaking off, or, in the case of a political collapse in Iran, I could see Iran losing its grip on Khuzestan. But I really don't see the Baghdad core (Mesopotamia, riverine) uniting with the Tehran core (Persia, plateau). They have too little in common in terms of patterns of daily life -- land use, agriculture, habits, language, etc.

A mutual defense pact is plausible. A safer prediction, I think, is that common interests will lead to rapprochement and gradually increasing political and economic alignment -- essentially what we're seeing between Europe and China right now, and for roughly the same reason (ie, common opposition to American hegemony).

With regard to the supposed connection between Shi'ite Islamicists in Iraq and their counterparts in Iran, it's worth recognizing that the dominant group in Iraq (ie, Sistani) is aligned with a minority group in Iran, and the dominant group in Iran (ie, the ruling party) is aligned with a minority group in Iraq. For there to be a union of the "militant Shi'ites" in the two countries requires either a rearrangement of political alliances or an upset of political power in one country. Either is possible, of course, but I'm inclined to believe that what will remain constant in any political realignment is the phenomenon of a ruling party in one state supporting an opposition party in a neighboring party.

Politics is local. It is only our America-centric way of viewing Iranian and Iraqi politics that leads us to see them as natural allies.


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