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McCain versus Obama: Pakistan, Syria and Iran?

It has long been my view that Barrack Obama will triumph in the upcoming US presidential elections barring an act bordering on World War III. Analysts across the board generally ad idem that if the material issue governing this election is the economy then it’s the Senator from Illinois while a major incident along 9/11 proportions would be required for a McCain victory.

A few short months ago we watched in awe as the Georgians decided to give the Russian tail a firm tweak by invading the breakaway region of South Ossetia. The team from Tbilisi, with the words of encouragement from George W Bush about joining Nato still ringing in their ears, probably asking themselves, “What’s the worst that can happen?” Needless to say Moscow didn’t even blink and showed them and then some. The result was a major international incident finally brought under control after much sabre rattling between Nato, the EU, US and Russia.

Interestingly John McCain’s ratings improved at the height of that crisis.

Over the past few weeks we have seen the US and Nato forces going after insurgents in the tribal lands of Pakistan using Afghanistan as the launching pad. Needless to say this has occasioned enormous anger in Pakistan and calls for their government to read the Americans the riot act.

During the weekend just passed we saw Iraqi and US forces launching attacks into Syria in order to pursue insurgents inside that country. The Syrians, to put it mildly, are highly miffed about it and are calling on the US and Iraq to explain why, once again, they are attacking a sovereign country as opposed to raising their concerns through the proper channels.

While both incidents are high profile they are still dwarfed by the global economic crisis which still sees Obama polling five clear points ahead of McCain.

In the case of Syria and Pakistan, the latter a nuclear power, it is difficult to understand why these unauthorized attacks are being made right now. In terms of regional conflicts the Taliban in Afghanistan are becoming emboldened by the defeatist rhetoric surrounding the leadership of Operation Enduring Freedom and the Iraqi government are yet to finalise a deal with the US forces governing the remainder of their stay in that country.

Hardly the time or place to go looking for problems with Pakistan and Syria who have a tendency towards militancy at the best of times.

This leaves the big question – Iran.

Over the weekend reports from the Middle East suggest that Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is suffering from exhaustion and is resting. With the US elections just days away (November 5) and uncharacteristic sorties being made into Syria and Pakistan, are we going to see a move to ‘clamp down’ on Iran’s nuclear build up?

If so the result could trigger a material bounce for McCain.

It could also start something far bigger than anything we have witnessed relating to South Ossetia, Pakistan or Syria; something which will not easily be resolved by bail outs or simple diplomacy.

Something that may have us longing for a peaceful economic crisis and an Obama presidency.

What is your biggest fear, being hungry or being killed?


  • Michael Trapido

    Mike Trapido is a criminal attorney and publicist having also worked as an editor and journalist. He was born in Johannesburg and attended HA Jack and Highlands North High Schools. He married Robyn in 1984 (Mrs Traps, aka "the government") and has three sons (who all look suspiciously like her ex-boss). He was a counsellor on the JCCI for a year around 1992. His passions include Derby County, Blue Bulls, Orlando Pirates, Proteas and Springboks. He takes Valium in order to cope with Bafana Bafana's results. Practice Michael Trapido Attorney (civil and criminal) 011 022 7332 Facebook