IN THIS EXCELLENT ANALYSIS George Friedman,STRATFOR, argues that the US must decide whether to capitulate to Russia or Iran, whether to cede hegemony to Russia in their neighbourhood or to Iran in theirs.
In other words, the Russians will want the United States to get out of the former Soviet Union — and stay out. Alternatively, the Russians are prepared, on Oct. 16, to reach agreements on nuclear exchange and weapons transfers that will include weapons that the Iranians can easily send into Iraq to kill U.S. troops. Should the United States initiate an air campaign prior to any of this taking effect, the Russians will increase the supply of weapons to Iran dramatically, using means it used effectively in Vietnam: shipping them in. If the United States strikes against Russian ships, the Russians will then be free to strike directly against Georgia or the Baltic states, countries that cannot defend themselves without American support, and countries that the United States is in no position to support.
Or the United States can quietly give Putin the sphere of influence he wants, letting down allies in the former Soviet Union, in return for which the Russians will let the Iranians stand alone against the Americans, not give arms to Middle Eastern countries, not ship Iran weapons that will wind up with militias in Iraq. In effect, Putin is giving the United States a month to let him know what it has in mind.
PUT ANOTHER WAY, DOES THE US WANT TO HAVE HEGEMONY OVER THE OIL-RICH CASPIAN OR THE OIL-RICH MIDDLE EAST OR BOTH?