Tuesday, August 12, 2008

How Does Russia v. Georgia Change the Iranian Issue?

A provocative question: Does the move by Russia against Georgia make a US/ Israeli strike against Iran's nuclear facilities more likely? Today Arnaud de Borchgrave ponders this and many other things about Georgia, Russia, the USA, Israel, and Iran here. One of the bugs in Putin's knickers has been the desire by the US to add Georgia to NATO, but another is that we are pushing hard to put missile defense sites in former Soviet bloc locales. Ostensibly those facilities would be there to defend Europe and the USA from Iranian launched nukes. If Russia's move on Georgia makes it less likely that we can get those built, does it then increase our need to remove the problem instead?
For what it's worth, futures trading on the proposition, "USA and/or Israel to execute an overt airstrike on Iran before September 30, 2008" has NOT spiked since the Russian bear growled. That proposition traded at over 40 last November but now is at 11.6 as September 30 draws closer. However, the same question for Q4 2008, a strike before the end of 2008, trades at 22.2 and an overt airstrike on Iran before the end of March 2009 trades at 31.0. There are many people who believe that the time to strike will be after the election and before the inauguration.