It is Friday evening, movie time and I see this news flash that US, UK and France had attacked Syrian targets purportedly harboring chemical weapons recently used on its own people in Ghouta. Will this attack trigger a war, possibly a catastrophic one that may draw in multiple countries from various continents? Will these countries risk such participation for the sake of Syria? Russia definitely has increased the decibel on rhetoric. It has already mentioned that this will trigger a wider conflict. Barring Cuban Missile Crisis, never were we so close to confrontation even during the cold war.
Often times, when authoritarian and despots rule, when reasons are relegated through backdoor, when hegemony dominates ego, we enter an era of incessant and cascading conflagrations. Current times are clearly moments of confluence of complex undercurrents with potential for eruption and disruption of current order. It is only rare to see someone not react to provocation.
Is it so close as Cuban crisis?
Never know… it may go in any direction. However, Russia has no supporters and has no financial buffers. It will only lend itself into deep destruction and disintegration. A smarter Putin will launch covert attacks, not direct physical but cyberattacks, targeting all essential utilities – from finance, electricity, gas, water and anything considered core utilities. That sounds near possibility.
China and Iran will support
China will never be part of such initial conflicts; it’s a institution of smart businessmen. While it wants to enjoy the fruits from such fight, it will always resist being part of such escalations in the beginning. Second, their major customers are US, EU and other developed economy, which are most aligned on one side. Third, it has amassed significant infra debt since 2008, to avoid economic crisis. It is managing the fulcrum but any war will disturb that balance and tilt the economy towards recession, which may trigger other downstream consequences foremost being resistance to the regime.
Iran has no might as of now. At least Pakistan is comparatively powerful than Iran. Despite being proven pariah state at the epicenter of international terrorism, it has more negotiating muscle than Iran.
Russia is a dilapidated economy, no might except rhetoric from strongman Putin. Putin is in wrong place, a shrewd calculative and thorough at the chess of politics, he knows how best to maneuver countries but his own country is economically in shambles and you need money to wage a war. He does not have the sustained fuel for not alone any prolonged war but war that matter, with any western nations together.
That does not mean it will seat silently. Putin will never let his strongman credibility be destroyed. In fact, that hand wringing behavior has provided Russia with billions of dollars from countries like Syria, Iran to sustain its economy. So it has to continue leveraging that nuisance potential to get that foreign currency. Letting the nuisance value die amounts to letting the source of currency to dry. It is equally true that it cannot wage a direct war. The only option left is playing covertly and creating disruptions. All these developed economies are built on digital (computer/IT) technology. That technology has gaping security holes. Russia, China and N Korea have displayed the might of their state to bring this down with cyberattacks.
My earlier blog on coalescence of chaos has few interesting observations https://wp.me/p7XEWW-12x
US and allies launch strikes on Syria chemical weapons sites