This weekend, Iran goes atomic.
On August 21, Iran will bring the nation’s first nuclear power reactor online when it loads a shipment of nuclear fuel into the core of the Bushehr nuclear plant.
The headlines this morning are grim. John Bolton, a former US envoy to the UN, warned this week that Israel has “eight days” to launch a military strike against Iran. To wait any longer would be “too late for Israel to launch a military strike against the facility because any attack would spread radiation and affect Iranian civilians.”
Absent an Israeli strike, Bolton said, “Iran will achieve something that no other opponent of Israel, no other enemy of the United States in the Middle East really has and that is a functioning nuclear reactor.”
The fact that this particular Iranian nuclear facility was built with Russia’s help is only escalating tensions in the Middle East and in Washington this week.
And Iran appears to have no intentions of slowing down its nuclear ambitions. On Monday, it was announced that construction would begin on 10 new uranium enrichment sites inside protected mountain strongholds by the first of March.
And expect more news about Iran’s military next week which is the nation’s “annual government week.” All week long, the nation will highlight its recent achievements and progress (mostly military-related.)
A military strike by Israel or Iran will ignite the flames of World War 3. In Iran, everything is at stake and unlike in Iraq, the sides are clearly drawn.
This week, a 74-page report was released by the Pentagon to the Congress detailing China’s growing military power (read here.) The report warns that China is extending its global military reach beyond a weapons buildup to wage regional war with Taiwan and the United States.
According to the report, “China is fielding an array of conventionally armed ballistic missiles, ground- and air-launched land-attack cruise missiles, special operations forces, and cyberwarfare capabilities to hold targets at risk throughout the region.”
The report also questions Bejiing’s motive for visits and meetings with Washington officials, and warns that the Chinese are using the meetings for intelligence gathering.
China has in no way given up on the Taiwan issue. A U.S.-China military feud would be devastating but has appeared inevitable for the last several years. China’s economic power and influence is now slowly morphing into global political power. That is when things get dangerous.
Just as the U.S. military is bringing its combat operations in Iraq to a close, we have the following headline, Dozens killed as Baghdad bomber hits army recruits:
“A suicide bomber sat for hours Tuesday among hundreds of army recruits before detonating nail-packed explosives strapped to his body, killing 61 people and casting new doubt on the ability of Iraqi forces as U.S. troops head home.
Bodies of bloodied young men, some still clutching job applications in their hands, were scattered on the ground outside the military headquarters in central Baghdad. Some of the estimated 1,000 men who had gathered there before dawn for a good spot in line were so desperate for work they returned hours after being treated at hospitals for injuries in the attack.”
Despite the end of U.S. combat operations in Iraq, I fully expect that Iraq will continue to be a U.S. occupied state and will serve as a launching pad for a full scale war between the West and Iran when the time comes.
Despite the fact that public support for the war in the U.S. is at an all-time low, the nine-year war in Afghanistan rages on as the United States is adding 30,000 more troops into the region, part of the “surge” that will swell US numbers to 100,000 in the coming weeks.
President Obama has stated that U.S. forces plan to begin pulling out troops in July 2011. But in a televised interview on Sunday, General David Petraeus, the top US commander in Afghanistan, indicated that delaying the July 2011 withdrawal of troops may be required.
About Jerry Robinson
Jerry Robinson is an economist, published author, columnist, international conference speaker, and the editor of the financial website, FTMDaily.com. In addition, Robinson hosts a weekly radio program entitled Follow the Money Weekly, an hour long radio show dedicated to deciphering the week’s economic news.