August is a snooze—except when it isn't, writes Anne Applebaum for the Washington Post, who points out that World War I and Saddam Hussein's invasion of Kuwait began in the eighth month. For the benefit of "the interns who are manning the shop while everyone is out of town," she runs down the crises that could bubble over:
- Iran—Show trials of protesters are already under way, and the leadership could very well "test the West" by arresting some top-level opposition leaders.
- Russia and Georgia, again—The anniversary of last year's August invasion was marked by grenade-throwing and talk from both sides of a renewed conflict. "What if Russia invades again?" Applebaum writes.
- Afghanistan—Many Taliban fled the southern provinces when fresh American troops arrived, but they're now striking in cities and formerly peaceful northern and western areas, and could seriously disrupt the Aug. 20 elections.
- Iraq—"It's been simmering on the back burner for years," so why not throw it into the mix?