Americans will die on American soil in large numbers. So predicted the Hart-Rudman Commission seven months before the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
No commissioner felt good about it getting it right. But the purpose of identifying “black swan” events before they happen is to give our leaders a chance to prevent them.
Here are some black swans that threaten to nest next year:
The unending Iranian nuclear threat: The P5+1 deal exchanging sanctions relief for building “trust and confidence” with the Iranian regime will accomplish nothing. The mullahs are not that interested in a civil nuclear program. They want the capability to build a bomb and put it in a missile so they can threaten other countries.
When the P5+1 deal expires next year, the sanctions regime will be broken and the U.S. won’t be able to put it back together. Meanwhile, Iran will claim the right to “enrich” nuclear material. The U.S. will have two options: be denounced by enemies and frenemies for refusing to engage in more feckless negotiations, or play along with Tehran, yammering our way through even more rounds of negotiations that merely give Iran more prep time to become the new kid on the nuclear block.
The Taliban are back: Many in the White House crave the “zero option,” a scenario in which the Afghan government refuses to allow NATO forces to stay in-country. It happened in Iraq, they note, so why not in Afghanistan? (What they do not note is the serious security threat now rising in Iraq.)