Saturday, April 30, 2016

Expert at One, Expert at All

Departing from its financial commentary, Barron's ventures into the geopolitical realm with an encouraging, surprising prediction: "the Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL, [will] see its power and territory greatly diminished by the end of 2017."

The claim that "ISIS will fall soon" is based on Barron's assessment of the capabilities and motivations of all the major players, including Russia, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Iraq, Syria, Israel, and the United States.

Color your humble blogger extremely skeptical. The Middle East is more complex than the most complex system, and even simple systems produce results that are unpredictable. It wouldn't take much to derail the path towards peace.

Also, sentences like the following don't inspire confidence:
Ultimately, the Islamic State will be laid low by blowback from the brutality of the caliphate. Reigns of terror generally only succeed in countries with deep and perduring totalitarian roots. The caliphate is hardly Stalinist Russia or Maoist China in its longevity.
ISIS will be "laid low" because it's too brutal? That's what has been said about North Korea, Iran, and Syria, and those regimes are still standing. (It took an invasion led by the world's mightiest military to overthrow Saddam Hussein in Iraq.)

I subscribed to Barron's to read about financial markets, not editorials why "Trump is wrong" (or right) or about how we've reached peak ISIS without a lot of doing on our part. Of course, Barron's has a right to its opinion, just as I have a right to stop paying for it.

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