A dangerous world

Is it me, or has the world doing its best impression of the Cold War recently?

I mean, Russian journalists being shot, ex-KGB spies being poisoned in London – it’s Georgy Markov getting stuck with an umbrella all over again.

Channel 4 has a documentary out, ‘638 Ways to Kill Castro.” Castro himself lies sick in Havana, with Cuba brimming over with doubt for its future.

Like Afghanistan in the 70s and 80s, we’ve now got Iraq firmly ensconced in a civil war – I think the 150-casualty market bombs yesterday mark the point where no-one, surely, can dispute this.

And just as everything nuclear seemed a bit passe and 1980s, we’ve got North Korea going booom and Iran trumpetting its latest centrifuge rig.

But it’s not a total replay of times past: instead of Northern Ireland, we’ve now got a new variant of terrorism, suicide bombers stirring themselves into the toxic mix. And of course the same measures being carried out by governments on a massive scale, ‘national security’ the cover story for an encroaching police state.

And six years ago, the world seemed in such a happy state. Little wars like Bosnia weren’t that long ago, but it just didn’t seem possible that any conflict could spread beyond borders any more.

Is another World War actually possible?

And if it came down to West vs Middle East, which way would Russia fall? China? India? Would, say, a US-Iran conflict provide an excuse for India and Pakistan to open up a front high in the Himalayas, and China to take Taiwan, dragging Japan unwillingly into it all across the water Kim Jong-il decides the time is right to march on Seoul? At that point Chavez and his buddy Morales might fancy themselves as Kings of the Americas, pitting everything south of Texas against each other, while in southeast Asia Indonesia breaks apart into the 500 countries it really is and Australia gets attacked for playing regional policeman.

I wonder, I really do.

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