RFK once cited a "Chinese curse" of "May you live in interesting times." Hoo boy, are we ever living in interesting times.
Now I don't know that there are dots to connect here, but there are certainly some nation-changing news coming out of a region already in turmoil:
Ireland.com: Turkmenistan president-for-life Saparmurat Niyazov died today after 21 years of dictatorship that made his Central Asian state one of the world's most isolated countries. Why do we care? 60 Minutes did a story on him in 2004:
If you're wondering why anyone in America should care about this strange and faraway place, the answer is over the hill in Iran and Afghanistan -- where Turkmenbashi sits between two hot spots.
Back in the ‘90s, an American oil company, Unocal, hired heavy-hitters like Henry Kissinger to tap into Turkmenistan's huge natural gas reserves via a proposed pipeline through Afghanistan. That deal fell through because of the Taliban. But today, Donald Rumsfeld is another heavy-hitter who's lobbying for Turkmenbashi's help. Rumsfeld made a quiet visit here last year to urge the Turkmen dictator to help with the on-going battle against the Taliban next door.
Kyiv Post: Kyrgyzstan's government resigned Tuesday in a dispute with parliament, adding new tension to the troubled politics of a country of strategic interest to both Russia and the United States.
SUSRIS: Adel al-Jubeir will be the next Saudi Arabian Ambassador to the United States according to a report on "The Washington Note" a US-based blog authored by Mr. Steven Clemons, Senior Fellow and Director, American Strategy Program at the New America Foundation. [..]
The Washington embassy top post has been vacant since December 11, 2006 when Prince Turki al-Faisal abruptly departed the United States after informing Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice he was resigning.[..]Prince Turki's departure came less than two weeks after a controversial op-ed in the Washington Post by Nawaf Obaid, a consultant to the Ambassador, warned that Saudi Arabia would intervene on behalf of Sunni Arabs in Iraq if the United States withdrew prematurely.
AZStarNet: Last week's elections for local councils in towns and cities across Iran were seen as a referendum on President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's 18 months in office, as opponents of Iran's ultra-conservative president won nationwide elections for local councils, final results confirmed today.
[..]On Wednesday, a leading newspaper that usually reflects the thinking of many in Iran's conservative clerical leadership said in a blistering editorial that the election results showed it was time for Ahmadinejad to moderate his tone and concentrate on improving the ailing economy.
"The election could be very instructive to those who have been in power," the Jomhuri Eslami editorial said.
"Arrogance, disregarding people's economic situation, insulting respected people and high-flying policies were among the elements of the failure of those who could not imagine such a failure."