Wednesday, February 22, 2012
I am not an NBA fan but by now most people have heard of Jeremy Lin (pic above). While known by NBA fans (and beloved by Knicks fans in particular), Lin also provides a new dimension to US foreign relations. Lin is from Taiwan and now that he is fast becoming the most famous Taiwanese athlete in the US, his family is becoming a target. Taiwan has long considered itself a separate nation from mainland China. The US has maintained strong ties with the democratic Taiwan over Communist China. China considers Taiwan a break-away and does not recognize its independence. Lin's increasing popularity has refocused attention on the relations between Taiwan, China and the US.
The US also has to contend with Kim Il-eun flexing his muscle over military drills in South Korea. There is no track record with the newest North Korean leader so we don't know what will happen.
These two hotspots could keep the US and Obama Administration busy for the rest of the election year alone, however matters in the Middle East continue to accelerate.
Iran has moved some of their naval ships to Syria. This means Assad now has Russian, Iranian as well as his own military to protect him from unwanted intervention by the UN, US and Arab League. Israel continues to sound like they will not let Iran get much further with their nuclear program. Afghanistan now is set to erupt after an American soldier accidentally burned Qurans that were seized from prisoners. Musharraf is trying to return to power in Pakistan. US presence in the region is not stabilizing anything and can lead to further hostilities (which could be an advantage for Syria or Iran).
Putin kicked out the Russian mob will in power. Most of the leaders ended up in either North America or Europe. The Russian mob wants back in to their homeland so they could support some type of domestic revolt (Chechnya) to distract Russia or cause the US to head into some type of conflict with Iran by staging a domestic attack.
All of this is cast with on a backdrop of a Presidential race pitting hard-line GOP candidates against an Obama Administration which has already shown its not afraid to take the first shot.