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There is no point in deluding ourselves any longer or smugly dismissing apocalyptic scenarios as mere unbridled fear-mongering. War is going to break out in the Middle East, possibly later this year and almost certainly in 2012, and eventually in South Asia. There is a stark likelihood that these may be WMD wars. For if Israel is targeted by Hezbollah’s 40,000-50,000 missiles, some of which are reported to be fitted with chemical and biological payloads and which can reach every corner of the country, it may need to reply in cataclysmic kind in order to survive. Abandoned by its American ally and left to its own resources, it may quite simply have no alternative, unless it agrees to commit national suicide. Despite the promising development of the Arrow anti-ballistic missile program, neither preemption—known in customary international law as “anticipatory self-defense”—nor second-strike reprisal can be ruled out. And if the U.S.-subsidized but unreliable Pakistani regime with its estimated 70-90 nuclear warheads goes rogue, with the finger of al-Qaeda on the nuclear button, India too may have no option but to respond in the same manner.
These two potential war zones are heating up. The Japanese Sankei Shimbun newspaper reveals that North Korea dispatched 160 nuclear experts to Iran in May, and Fars News Agency reports on Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardan’s recent visit Tehran to discuss “a vast range of issues.” We can readily imagine what some of these topics will be. Between Iran and Pakistan falls the shadow.
True, the Korean peninsula is also a potential war zone, but despite the North’s aggressive rheteoric and occasional acts of belligerence, it will be restrained by China for which a peninsular war on its borders is not in its interests. North Korea’s mischief making is mainly confined to the export of its nuclear technology and expertise to Iran and Syria. The Middle East and South Asia remain the epicenters of the approaching upheavals.
There is a slight chance that we may emerge from the present inflammable circumstances if we are providentially given two gifts: more time, and a new, vigorous and wiser American administration. Otherwise, those of us who are not immediately and physically implicated would have only one hope, that the carnage stays localized. But there is no guarantee that this will be the case. And we will then have deserved whatever calamity is inflicted upon us for our blindness, self-deception, anemic leadership and languid inactivity in the face of what might have been prevented.
The writing is on the wall and it does not take a Daniel to interpret it.
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