How World War IV Comes About

Fareed Zakaria is quite possibly the most overrated pundit in the country. His articles for Newsweek are masterpieces of the obvious, with a grasp of foreign affairs about as superficial as Madeleine Albright's (that is, about as deep as a wading pool).

Even when he actually has a handle on the facts, he fails to come up with any meaningful conclusions:

Here is the reality. Iran has an economy the size of Finland's and an annual defense budget of around $4.8 billion. It has not invaded a country since the late 18th century. The United States has a GDP that is 68 times larger and defense expenditures that are 110 times greater. Israel and every Arab country (except Syria and Iraq) are quietly or actively allied against Iran. And yet we are to believe that Tehran is about to overturn the international system and replace it with an Islamo-fascist order? What planet are we on?

This is definitely pre-911 thinking at work here, a failure to recognize that we live in an age of asymmetrical and political warfare, where the size and strength of a traditional military doesn't mean nearly as much as it did during the Cold War.

Here is a quite plausible World War IV scenario for the unimaginative Zakaria: Iran launches a nuclear attack upon Israel on the very first day it is able to do so, Israel retaliates. The Arab nations and the larger Middle East line up to attack Israel, and its puppetmaster the United States. Terrorist attacks erupt against innocents throughout Europe, causing our NATO allies to stand up with us. Pakistan threatens to use its nuclear arsenal in defense of Islam . . . and so it goes.

That, Fareed Zakaria, is the planet we live on, and it didn't take much effort to come up with that scenrio.

In fact, wow, let's come up with some variants! Russia takes sides with Iran, as does China. China uses this conflict as cover to take Taiwan. Iran uses the conflict as cover to take Bahrain. Hugo Chavez decides to get involved and cuts off oil supplies. India decides that nuclear cooperations with the U.S. isn't such a bad idea after all. Turkey decides it is a great time to teach the Kurds a lesson. The world polarizes, and dimwits like Zakaria scratch their heads and wonder how it all came to be.

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