world-war-3-nuclear-china-russia-665x385Like the stock market crashes that periodically wipe out so many fortunes, military crises are hard to predict. Washington’s track record as a seer of future threats is remarkably poor. From the bombing of Pearl Harbor in the 1940s to North Korea’s invasion of the South in the 1950s to the Cuban Missile Crisis in the 1960s to the collapse of South Vietnam in the 1970s to the breakup of the Soviet empire in the 1980s to Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait in the 1990s to the 9-11 attacks and rise of ISIS in the new millennium, America’s policy elite never seems to see looming danger until it is too late. So don’t be surprised if the economic sanctions Washington has led the West in imposing on Russia look like a bad idea a year from now. At the moment, a combination of sanctions and plummeting oil prices seems to be dealing the government of President Vladimir Putin a heavy blow — just retribution, many say, for its invasion of Ukraine and annexation of Crimea last year. But as Alan Cullison observed in the Wall Street Journal this week, sanctions sometimes provoke precisely the opposite response from what policymakers hope. In Russia’s case, that could mean a threat to America’s survival. Let’s briefly consider how Russia’s current circumstances could lead to dangers that dwarf the challenges posed by ISIS and cyber attacks. More