History's End

History will end only when Man does

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  • Friday, July 22, 2005

    The Threat Revealed: Part 3

    What have I been trying to say so far? Well, it was touched upon by Wretchard of the Belmont Club.

    Although the fight against terrorism has been called the Global War on Terror, in practice it is being fought locally, often over specific issues, in a variety of countries.

    Wretchard later clarifies this somewhat:
    But then, Islamic militants have used a variety of local issues -- from Kashmir to Timor; from Mindanao secession to returning to Granada -- to advance their own agenda. Viewed up close the "bloody borders of Islam" consist as much of local political conflict as they do of the worldwide issues like Iraq or the restoration of the Global Caliphate. On the level of ideology the fight may have been between an 8th century religious creed and the democratic ideal, but its local manifestation is always going to be Bush against Kerry; Aznar against Zapatero.

    This covers the superstructure of what I have been trying to explain, namely, the internationalization of the local. Globalization has brought the world together, and in so doing, it has enabled the thugs of the world to unite as never before. As Wretchard explains, Islamists in different nations may share similar ideologies, but their primary motivation differs from nation to nation, region to region. This, however, transcends the Islamists, and rather moves into the category of all of those opposed to the current path being set by globalization. Chavez in Venezuela is just as much opposed to it as Bin Laden in Saudi Arabia, and both take steps to fight it in their backyards. Their methods differed, of course. Chavez took control of his nation as the step to fight globalization and its tenets within, while Bin Laden struck at what he saw as the source of those tenets, the United States of America. Both are in fact fighting the same war, against the same enemy, which could loosely be termed liberal democracy, or perhaps, the anglo-saxon liberal tradition. It is more than just anglo-saxonism, of course. It is also Judeo-Christian, Greco-Roman as well. But whatever the name, both Chavez, Bin Laden, and even the oligarchs in China have an enemy in it. And they fight it as well, simply using different strategies.

    The irony, of the darkest kind, of the situation is that globalization has provided the weapons by which its enemies may attack , and perhaps even destroy, it. The Internet, a globalist concept created in the ultimate globalist state, America, provides the ultimate in communications. Anyone, anywhere in the world with a phone line and an ISP can coordinate with anyone else across the globe. The internet, besides assisting shoppers and pornography seekers (not its primary purpose by far, but trust capitalism to find productive uses for anything), allows enemies of globalization to organize without ever meeting. Using forums and message boards, they can trade ideas, plans, tips and conviction. The Axis Powers in World War Two could never coordinate as well as foes of globalization can now, through the very tools created by their enemy. If it hasn't happened already, it will happen soon, but the internet allows foes of globalization like Chavez and bin Laden to recognize in globalization an enemy that must be fought. Each has their own reasons for fighting globalization, for it poses a different threat to each of them, but the enemy is the same. So they will band together, loosely at first, but who knows how close it could get before the end. Desperation can be a powerful force indeed.

    Any group of people can use the forces of globalization to strike their perceived foes. Suicide bombers don't have to be Islamists. They can be Tamali Tigers for instance, and could easily become Chinese or South American fanatics as well. The willingness to die for the cause isn't solely an Islamist trait. Any local issue can become global when fanatics have access to online plans for weapons, have access to high speed transportation like airplanes, and can propagate their message across the world through sympathetic media. The greater threat is the ability of globalization to empower its foes as never before. The Islamists are perhaps the first, and are certainly the most visible. They will not be the last. Many powers have reason to fear democratic liberalism. China and Russia among them. Putin and his goons might not be able to win, and thus might not really fight at all, but wouldn't bet on it. China will almost certainly fight, of that I am sure. How they will is uncertain, but at some point globalization will be too much of a threat for them to allow it to continue unabated. And isolationism isn't an effective tactic, as they have seen with North Korea. No, I expect a rancid nationalism from China. Globalization has helped modernize their state, and it has spawned other foes of globalization which they can empower themselves, the proxy war is not a thing of the past. Where all of this is leading I cannot say with certainty. My gut tells me it isn't anywhere good. This is not the end, nor is it the beginning of the end. I am not even sure if we are at the end of the beginning. This war has only just begun.

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