Forrest Friday: The Least You Should Know About Some of the Biggest Threats Facing the US

In April I will be graduating in Political Science. I was an International Relations major, and a lot of my political science classes focused on that subject. I thought I would share a quick summary of the major issues in International Relations. If you study it enough you can easily get yourself freaked out about the potential conflicts. I wrote my capstone paper on cyber security, fyi, so I might address that at some other point. This is mostly for those of you who generally avoid this area of the news.

1. Iranian nuclear weapons. Even President Obama acknowledged recently that Iran could have nuclear weapons within a year. Pres. Ahmadinejad has threatened the elimination of Israel in recent history. If you know anything about the strong Pro-Israel group in the United States you might understand that in many ways a threat to Israel is a threat to the United States. I am relatively sure there a lot of people that would say that Iran could get nuclear weapons in less than a year if it wanted.

-On a lighter note check out this SNL short with Adam Levine about President Ahmadinejad. For some reason this song seems really catchy to me.

Photo Courtesy of

2. North Korea. Sticking with the nuclear weapons theme, there is N. Korea. We know they have nuclear weapons. They have a new, relatively young leader who is a bit of an unknown quantity. However, yesterday North Korea made a very direct threat towards the United States. There have been a lot of moments of tension in the past, but I’m pretty sure that the current tension levels are a lot higher than usual.  The New York Times  reported, “North Korea on Thursday threatened to attack American military bases in Japan and on the Pacific island of Guam in retaliation for recent training missions by American B-52 bombers over South Korea.”

3. Afghanistan. So Afghanistan is kind of an awkward situation for the US. The war is generally considered a lot more legitimate than Iraq. Yet, we have been there far longer. It is one of the most corrupt, or the most ( I can’t remember) country in the world. Pakistan, our supposed ally in the region has likely been very deceptive with us, or have actively worked against us at times. They did have Osama right down the street from a major military institution. They have nuclear weapons as well, and a some what tenuous domestic political situation.  There have been a lot of attacks by Afghan forces on US forces that are supposed to be working together. Now to top it off President Hamid Karzai, President of Afghanistan for the completely uninitiated, has “accused the U.S. and Taliban insurgents of having a secret understanding to foment violence as a pretext to keep foreign troops in Afghanistan.” 

4. Potential Meteor Strike to Major Metropolitan Area. This this one is a little different. However, it is a recent issue, and a possible serious threat that could destroy an entire city with millions of inhabitants. As you are likely aware there was a large meteor strike in Russia that, fortunately, was far enough away from a city to not hurt or kill too many more people.  According to the New York Times about 1,200 people were injured. That meteor was not detected. According to another article by the New York Times there are programs run by NASA using ground-based telescopes that are searching for larger meteorites. However, it is obvious that a meteorite the size of the one that hit in Russia could do a lot of damage. There is a B6-12 foundation that is seeking to build a privately owned asteroid-detecting telescope. There are number of very wealthy individuals from Silicon Valley involved. Despite how unlikely it might be, a meteorite could hit a downtown metropolitan area without a moments notice and do serious damage. That seems like something to be concerned about.

So, basically, the United States is facing some very serious and tough challenges right now. The likelihood of anything really bad happening is really remote, however, with any of these threats the worst possible scenario of how things could play out would be very bad. None of these situations are simple and can be resolved easily, obviously. Unfortunately, we have to accept a certain degree of risk in a lot of situations, spend more effort and money than we want, and work with people that we would rather not work with to come out with a semi-acceptable outcome.

Talk about wars and rumors of wars. If you don’t think it is happening, you’re wrong.

On a random note, the US Mens Soccer team is playing a must win game for World Cup qualifying at 8 against Costa Rica.

I just finished working in the Utah State Legislature. I worked for Rep. Cunningham who got the nickname of the honey badger. Here is a picture of him that was on the Salt Lake Tribune website. 



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1 Comment

  • Awesome recap! Very easily broken down but not very easy problems. Kind of scary. I think the scariest is the meteor because there really isn't anything we can do about it.

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