Wars and Rumors of Wars

Now that we are out of Afghanistan and have declared the Forever Wars over, a number of people are eagerly pushing their favorites for the next war.

Alexander Lukashenka, who lost Belarus’s election for president but doesn’t want to go, is causing trouble on his borders with Poland, Lithuania, and Latvia by forcing refugees from the Middle East across those borders. Belarus has restricted the flow of oil to Poland.

Lukashenka’s neighbor to the east, Vladimir Putin, backs him warily because Belarus is one of Russia’s few allies. On the other hand, Lukashenka has defied Putin in the past. His latest move to restrict the flow of oil to Poland may or may not be backed by the Kremlin. Putin has been increasing troop strength near the eastern part of Ukraine, where he has kept a shooting war going since 2014. It’s unlikely that he is preparing for a broader invasion – that would require holding additional territory and thus more military resources. But it’s not clear what he’s about.

Russia also blew up a satellite this week, producing a cloud of space debris that endangers the International Space Station and the Chinese crewed station. It will take decades for the space junk to clear.

The whole of this eastern European mess, or parts of it, have been cited as cause for war.

Taiwan is another hot spot. Nobody that I’m aware of has proclaimed a war now in progress, but there is significant agitation that we must be ready for war with China.

A number of people have proclaimed a Cold War now in progress with China (David Sanger,  and provoked disputation that that condition applies (Joseph Nye, , and others who argue with the arguers (Sergey Radchenko, Hal Brands and John Lewis Gaddis). I’ll come down on the “No, it’s not a Cold War” side provisionally, until someone explains what they mean when they declare for one side or another. Discussing the specifics would make a lot more sense.

The crew who are eager for a war with Iran have been quieter lately than those others. They are the ones who convinced Donald Trump to pull out of the nuclear agreement so that they could make a case for that war. When the negotiations come closer to getting an agreement in place, we will hear from them again.

A former CIA guy says that “Havana syndrome” is an act of war and we have to respond.

There’s a lot of possibilities for war. This kind of talk could make it so.

Cross-posted to Lawyers, Guns & Money