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Living in interesting times

There have been real wars before, there will be real wars again. I think many people have forgotten this -- I know I have. Sure, I can understand the thought intellectually; I've studied history and think I have a fair understanding of the international tensions in the world today. But the idea has never really sunk in.

Up until now in my adult life, wars involving the great powers have largely been against isolated, weak regimes with the result not in doubt. Only the Iraq war -- or rather the Iraq 'insurgency' -- bears any similarity to a 'real' conflict. But even there, there is restraint -- on both sides, I think -- to keep the battle from slipping the borders and becoming a greater confrontation.

But the possibility exists now that that may all change. Israel may want to confine its attacks to Lebanon even though they know it is Syria and Iran that are controling Hezbollah, but Syria and Iran may decide to overtly aid Hezbollah enough that Israel has no choice but to expand operations. This would be the cue for Jihadist movements throughout the Middle East -- and the Arab governments that fear them -- to join the fray. Another '67 war could be right around the corner. As it stands today, I can't see Israel backing down, and Hezbollah seems to be itching for a fight.

What would the US do if the war expands? Actively support Israel? They should, but could they? What happens if Iran attempts to close the Strait of Hormuz? How will China side? Russia? How does it end? The difference between now and the Six Day War is that then Israel was fighting armies organized by nations. Nations can be occupied and can sue for peace. Today they are fighting terrorist groups don't fight for land but for an ideal. They don't have those old 20th century restrictions.

Personally, I blame the media, the Democrats, and the international elites for what's happening. After Iraq was liberated, Iran and Syria were terrified that they were going to be next. But after three years of incessant criticism from those three groups the message has gone out loud and clear that the United States is divided and Bush is diplomatically isolated. Iran and Syria feel that they can get away with whatever mischief they can come up with, so the masks they hid behind to carry out their proxy wars are starting to slip. I think they've underestimated the power and the resolve of the US, though I'm not sure if I want that belief to be put to the test.


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