The markets are nervous - heading for the second day of 1% + fall in the DJIA (could even hit 2% by close today). Oil is about to hit $77; and I just heard Dubya with Angela Merkel getting his tongue tied around his 'working for peace' 'working for freedom', 'fighting the enemies of P & F' etc etc refrain yet again. I've long passed laughing at him. It was surreal and deeply deeply depressing.
This post from the 'Running on Empty' Yahoo discussion group is pretty close to how I see things right now:
The great thing about predicting human events is that you are so often wrong. In this case, nothing would make me happier than to be in error. But, God help us all, I think the odds are better than 1in 5. The beginnings of wars are often hard to identify. Which act like the spark on the tinderbox? Which straw was the final one? Like peak oil itself, the beginnings of war are often visible only in retrospect. Why today? Why, when we might make the case that the war began when the US invaded Iraq? Why when this particular cause might turn out to be just another brush fire? We don't know. We can only guess. This morning, Israel invaded Lebanon in retaliation for the kidnapping of two Israeli soldiers, and began shelling. Hezbollah is demanding the release of thousands of Palestinian prisoners. Israel is threatening to return Lebanon to the war of 20years ago. Iran and Syria are both making noises in support of Hezbollah, and our president has demanded the release of all prisoners.
Our government has been looking for an excuse to invade Iran, and here is one ready-made - Iran's longstanding economic and military support of Hezbollah. Moreover, American strategy in the middle east is deeply tied into Israel, and there is no question that we will provide support of some sort or another if Israel fully commits to war with Lebanon and perhaps Syria. Another American beach head, run through Israel, is likely to spark more conflict with Iran and other nations in the middle east. And full-scale, multi-national war in the middle east is something no independent nation in the world can afford to ignore. As Iraq fragments and the US is increasingly overcommitted, China and Russia are caught between their economic and energy ties to Syria and Iran, and their desire not to antagonize the US. But if the Middle East fully ignites, neither China nor Russia will be free not to choose sides. They will have to protect their own interests. And I believe nothing good could possibly come from so many people with big guns and nuclear bombs trying to decide how to take sides. I could be wrong. It could all just peter out. But the crisis pattern resembles a few we've seen before in our history books. I pray I'm wrong, but I won't be surprised if someday, today is named the beginning of the next world conflict. As I said before, God help us all, and may I look as silly as everyone else who makes predictions and is wrong.
Sharon in upstate NY
And if Americans and Brits want to know what ordinary educated Iraqis really think of them, they could do worse than read this from a young Baghdad Blogger