Friday, December 31, 2021

Dare I Disagree With David Ignatius?

 In today's Washington Post, intel columnist David Ignatius had a ten question multiple choice quiz about what will happen in 2022. He provided his own answers at the end, effectively forecasts.  Many I agree with and some, speculative about tech developments and such like, I have no opinion on.  However on two very important ones I think I disagree with him, if not overwhelmingly so.

One of these was about prospects for Iran and the US and others to put back together the JCPOA nuclear deal that Donald Trump removed the US from.  I am burned as I expected Biden to quickly rejoin the deal with minimum fuss once he got back in office. But he did not do so, insisting on demanding all sorts of extra things out of Iran about missiles and this and that.  No deal has been made and now Iran has a hard line government.  Yes, formal negotiations have been restarted in Vienna, but to me they do not seem to be going anywhere, and Iran has now substantially expanded its nuclear capability.  Ignatius forecasts that Iran will negotiate a deal under pressure from Russia and China.  I am afraid I am skeptical, although I would love to see it.

The other one, where I am forecasting a more optimistic outcome has to do with the current Russia-Ukraine situation.  Bottom line for Ignatius is pessimistic, that Russia will make cyberattacks on Ukraine that lead to people freezing this winter, will allow the Donbas separatists to attack Ukrainian forces and expand their territory of conrtrol, and then create broader chaos in Ukraine that will justify a full-scale invasion by Russia of Ukraine.

I think a more optimistic answer is more likely, although certainly not certain. This one says that Putin will gradually pull troops back after some sort of sufficiently face-saving deal is cut.  This seems to be what people in Ukraine think, although maybe the generally astute Ignatious knows better. But I hope he is wrong for this coming new year.

Snovem godem (Russian for Happy New Year), you all!

Barkley Rosser

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