Discussion: Possible Outcomes for the Third World War
The scenario: NATO vs Russia. NATO + Arab League (and Israel) insists that Iran abandon its nuclear program. Israel strikes Iran's suspected nuclear facilities. the Israelis underestimates Iran's strength and are overwhelmed in the counter attack. Facing annihilation, Israel dares Obama not to step in. Believing the future of American health care reform at stake, Obama does so. But Russian jets intercept the Americans, driving them from Iran's skies.
Never since WWII has a nation been humiliated like Iran. The Iranians speak with one voice about nuclear technology: it is theirs to develop. Ahmadinejad has a domestic position mirroring that of ****** in 1933: rampant economic deterioration due to unfair treatment by foreign powers. And, unlike ******, he has the intelligence to be a team player. But Ahmadinejad is only one hard dude in the mix: the leader of the IRGC recalls both Stalin and Castro in terms of charisma and brutality. Beyond this, Iran's push has a religious foundation, something the Nazis forsook entirely. The people will follow the regime not because their government expects them to, but because God does. The sociopaths in the regime know that they will receive cover if only they agree to respect the mullahs.
Russia is now controlled by Putin. The events of the 1990s have left the nation dispirited and embarrassed. The , but failed to give the Russians the respect they wanted. Now the foreigners are gone, kicked out by the charismatic Putin. Putin has the legacy of Yeltsin at his back: the leader of the Russian left handed the nation to him on a silver platter after admitting total failure to capitalize on the nation's hopes and dreams. Many Russians feel that Putin is the perfect leader. However, Putin has enemies. In recent years the Kremlin has worked to close non-governmental organizations based in foreign countries. What the American media scarcely mentions, however, is that these organizations are front groups for the Democratic and Republican parties. (the recent diplomatic hostage situation in Egypt involved similar groups). Putin has incentive to send America a signal to stay out of Russia's affairs. A surprise strike on American forces in the Mediterranean would leave America shocked and disoriented, tipping the balance of power. At the same time, Russian pride would be restored to its highest level since Sputnik.
There are many factors which favor Russia. MAD means nuclear weapons are completely off the table. This means the nation with the strongest resources and widest land area will prevail. That nation is Russia. Among the NATO nations, the only nation with comparable natural resources is Canada, which although a wild card, has little incentive to anger Russia. America has squandered its resources over the past half century, making further exploration increasingly expensive. Russia, in comparison, has enough untapped natural fuel to last for some 400 years (or longer).
Europe, in natural resource figures, is a non-entity.
Putin can also count on discontent in NATO itself. The America right wing in particular would fly into a rage, determined to produce without restriction "for the good of the nation". This would be the setup for a string of Weather Underground-style sabotage movements by the left-wing, in addition to harassment by hacktivists (which could take on a truly global character). All this division would distract and divide America into the foreseeable future. It would be difficult to create unity around a war with Russia, owing both to fear of Russian brutality, the weakening long-term position of the United States, and the difficulty of framing Vladimir Putin in terms of a traditional dictator.
Russia also has considerable military interest in the survival of both Iran and Syria in terms not favorable to the United States. Both nations are reliable customers for Russian arms and artillery -- without them, the Russian arms industry would go nearly bankrupt (the pocketing of Iraq into Lockheed-Martin's pocket was a blow from which Russia has not fully recovered). The Kremlin has strong ties to Russian arms industry and has little incentive to see it fail.
The China Factor
If Russia engages the U.S., the geopolitical situation will be transformed. American influence will be nullified. While change in the Korean Peninsula is unlikely, Taiwan would be a sitting duck. A long-distance artillery barrage would weaken the island's defenses and enable the undertaking of an amphibious operation on the island itself. If conducted quickly, enough Chinese soldiers could be deployed to the island to saturate its land area. The situation would be similar to France in 1940: traitorous forces seize control via a coup, and the island's arms are lowered (a similar situation happened in Saigon in 1974). Taiwan goes red inside of a month.
All in all, it appears that an attack on Iran would be an enormous setback for democracy.
I don't buy it. I think it's one of those distractions that have the right idea, but complete lack of perspective.