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Teaser: In the event no major upheaval in the world power structure occurs, the Caucasus and the 'Stans' continue to be a five-way toss-up between Russia, China, India, America and Europe.
In the event a Turkish-Iranian alliance arises, the area falls wholly into an emergent Islamic axis -- somewhat religious and modernist, while the more reactionary regions (see: Saudi Arabia, Sudan) are argued over by outside powers (China v United States).
Africa winds up being the grand prize of the 21st century. Where great power politics as-is prevail, Europe, the Islamic bloc, China, the United States, India, and even Russia get involved. It's a real mess, but armies go where the treasures are, and poor Africa, ever the victim, is lined up to be fought for once again.
Or is it?
You were interested, very much so, in the rise (renaissance, rather) of at least one South American power -- Argentina. There is at least one more -- Brazil.
Latin America comes to be divided between Argentina in alliance with Colombia, China gets a toehold via Peru and Mexico, Russia forges an alliance with Brazil and Venezuela.
All three blocs go to town in Africa, forging a trio of ostensibly 'Third World' alliances both there and farther afield, even planting flags in Europe and Asia; it's quite the scene.
There are about twenty different alliance groupings possible if but one roll of the dice goes their way, and about six that are robust in most every scenario.
The one consistency is that the world is already multipolar whether Washington admits it or not, and it's only going to get even more diversified a portfolio of power, to the point that radical restructuring of wealth, trade and influence is going to occur, unless somebody puts a foot down on a lot of other people's necks.
Which, I suppose, is what the Bushies have been attempting, albeit quite clumsily, to do all along.
Why pick on the Iranians? Why plant a flag in Iraq? Simple: tolerating the peaceful and uncontested formation of a modernist Islamist bloc is a virtual death sentence for American influence in the Eastern Hemisphere. Al Qaida rehearsing plane hijackings is not what keeps the Americans up at night. Nor is Saddam Hussein wondering which village to gas next week. Not even the dispute over the Occupied Territories in Palestine gets much mileage.
What gives the Pentagon and Foggy Bottom ulcers is the nightmare scenario of Turkey, Iran and one other major player -- Egypt, perhaps, or Pakistan -- and that alliance either being chums with the new Sino-Indo-Russian entente, or going solo and becoming a new nuclear power (which, since the Paks already have the bomb, it would be instantly).
Suddenly, giving the Turks the cold shoulder for two decades doesn't seem like such a good move.
Oh, little detail: No one ever second-guesses the fact that the Turks have a nuclear energy program of their own.
Good thing the Turks are always on the right side of human rights. Good thing the Turks always have stable democratic institutions. Good thing the Turks have never had an aggressive foreign policy.
Else I might be a bit worried about their new friends, the Iranians, and their new tag-team strategy vis a vis the Kurds on northern Iraq.
Have Keyboard. Will Travel. :)
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