The world’s leaders gathered in New York this week at the headquarters of the United Nations to discuss the world order. Obama spoke, offering his thoughts on Iran and Syria, criticizing both of them but urging patience. Obama avers that the world can deal with Iran without the use of force, though all signs point in other directions.
Clearly with less than two months before election day, Obama does not want to sink the USA into another foreign conflict in the Middle East. With Russia backing the Assad regime in Syria, there is little that Obama can do without the risk of igniting a giant conflict and at least some sort of cold war-type stand off with Russia. Even if the rest of the world stands with the Syrian rebels, Russia is too big an obstacle for everyone to tackle when the limping economy is what is on most people’s minds. Democracies are, after all, controlled by the people.
But the thorn in Obama’s side, Israel, has been warning that it will strike Iranian nuclear complexes in order to stunt their enrichment programs and buy more time as the Iranian regime urges the world that it is going to use the nuclear capability for civilian electricity. No one outside of Iran, and some inside Iran, want them to have a nuclear weapon. This is not necessarily because the regime has promised to annihilate Israel, but because of the way that Iran fits into the world’s terrorist networks, providing arms and funding to groups such as Hezbollah. Iran would be much more likely to give a nuclear device to a terrorist group and let them try to reach a western target. This is more dangerous, since terrorists do not need to worry about the safety of a massive population like a sovereign government does.
Either way, these will be two big issues that face the next President. If Obama is re-elected, we will surely see some sort of ramping up of the aide provided to Syrian rebels, perhaps even the coordination of humanitarian buffer zones inside the Syria borders. As with the Libyan campaign, America will probably take a back seat role with NATO calls the shots. If Russia pushes back, the world should ignore it, knowing that Putin would probably not stretch his military forces away from Russia while so many protests keep popping up at home. If Russia laments the loss of its final naval base in the Mediterranean, tough shit, they should refocus their efforts on the Arctic anyway, with the melting ice opening up a bonanza of energy exploration, they could probably use their ships up there.
If Romeny is elected President, there is no telling what he would do. He would probably begin to act even more belligerently with Iran, solidifying the Iranian people with their leader and encouraging Iranian sympathy amongst other Middle Eastern nations. The sanctions in place are crippling the Iranian economy and causing unrest among the population there, effectively separating the government’s agenda from what the people need. The further apart those two things drift, the harder it is for the Iranian government to justify what it is doing. If it reaches a tipping point, there could be large scale protests and the possibility of policy change. If Romney postures like a guy ready to punch someone, Iran can say to its people: we need this weapon to make sure this guy never comes near us. The world will become a very dangerous place.