Flash Point: An Irony of Significance

One  of the things that motivated the creation of Flash Points was the apparently synchronicity between two or more sources on a single topic, often something new to us, in a very short period of time -usually within hours of each other. We have a new one of a geopolitical nature.

As background, Lebanon has been a non-functional state because external powers have either intentionally or unintentionally promoted sectarian violence that has kept it unstable. One of the dominant influences has been Syria via both its own military and proxy militias such as Hezbollah. It was startling today, then, to read this comment from Art Cashin in a KingWorld News interview:

This (Syria) could turn into a very ugly Lebanon, very quickly, and thereby destabilize the entire Middle-East.  And I don’t think protection against that is priced anywhere in these markets, with the possible exception of the premium price for oil.”

Within half an hour, we heard Robert Kaplan express a similar sentiment in: Stratfor: Debate Between George Friedman and Robert D. Kaplan on Forecasting.

If such were to transpire, we assume that Iran would be the exterior power that would seek to control Syria, but Turkey, Israel and the Saudis will compete for influence and control in a post-Assad political structure. At the same time, the US, Russia and China as the larger geopolitical powers will try and assert their interest. France will probably want to muck around in there too.


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