Ever since the elections in Iraq, (and before that), the question has been rolling around as to just who might be next on BushCo's target list.
The two candidates have emerged as likely targets - for different reasons, of course - Syria and Iran.
This article on G2Mil.com reflects much of the military speculation as to when such an invasion might take place (after June 2005) Along with contracts given out to overhaul ex-soviet bases in Afghanistan, the sabre-rattling over Iran's nuclear programs has been pretty constant from the US ever since Saddam Hussein's regime in Iraq collapsed. Of course, just to muddy waters further, Syria continues to have its own activities going on, which seem to make Israel decidedly nervous as well.
My money's still on Iran as the next target - that would give the US a great deal of control over the Persian Gulf region, and the opportunity to hobble the Chinese economy in the short term by clobbering a recent deal with Iran for LNG deliveries. The US has taken a first step to isolating China on the world economic stage.
What does China have to do with Iran (or Syria, for that matter)? China presents a problem for US policymakers - not only is China one of the fastest growing economies in the world, they also happen to hold a great deal of the US foreign debt. (You know, the very monies that are funding US occupation in Iraq and Afghanistan) If the US can render China impotent on the world stage, they remove a potential stumbling block to their goals in the Middle East.
The United States economy isn't in any shape to withstand another military levy for action in Iran or Syria - but this isn't the question for the neo-cons currently occupying the executive arm of the US government. Under the extended powers granted them in the so-called "War on Terror", all they need is an excuse, manufactured or otherwise, to go after Iran. The profligate spending of the Bush administration in its wars doesn't exactly make me believe that the neo-cons in Washington give a fig about the US economy. As far as they are concerned, they will cheerfully start printing money to finance their war.
Invading Iran is probably one of the dumbest tactical maneuvers that BushCo could possibly do right now. Not only has Iran been more or less unmolested for the last 15 years or so, it has spent a huge amount of money building facilities underground in the mountainous regions of the country. Iran is at least as complex to occupy as Afghanistan, and simply toppling the government in Tehran is unlikely to give foreign occupation control over the country.