Our Brilliant, Bloody Future
Don't miss this long and insightful article by Ralph Peters in the journal Military Officer-- bloody brilliant if you ask me, and one of the most mind-blowing and forward-looking analyses I have read of the situation faced by the modern world and the outlook for America's future. Peters lays it all out -- the brilliant -- and the bloody future that awaits us. The must read of the week! If you read nothing else -- you must see this.
Our Brilliant, Bloody Future
Never underestimate the power of the American dream and the transformative genius of our country’s soul. Far from being in decay, we are headed for even greater might, wealth, and moral stature. The 21st century will not belong to China or to any other foreign power. It will be yet another American century.
Despite living in the most revolutionary society in history, we rarely pause to consider the degree to which we Americans have altered fundamental human patterns that prevailed for millennia. The real revolutionaries of the past century weren’t Che Guevara, Mao, or Lenin, but middle-class Americans going about their daily lives. We have broken barriers to human progress that, a century ago, appeared eternal.
The most powerful strategic advance has been the emancipation of women. Within the lifetimes of most readers of this magazine, the scope of opportunity for women has broadened with breathtaking speed. Previously, half of America’s human capital was restricted to a few narrow fields of endeavor. Today, women fly military aircraft, sit on the Supreme Court, lead corporations, hold cabinet positions, or work at the local convenience store — but they all contribute. As a result, we now operate at an unprecedented level of economic efficiency. The change in the role of women in our country and a handful of other nations constitutes the greatest social revolution in history.
That revolution threatens traditional, male-as-master societies in which women are viewed as property (essentially as slaves). While we are not conditioned to think in such terms, women’s liberation in the West is the single most frightening aspect of our civilization for males in tradition-bound societies — especially those of the Middle East. To a degree we fail to comprehend, the great contest between the West and the societies of the Middle East is a struggle over women’s freedom. We would never express it so, but the enduring, unorthodox war between our military and Islamist terrorists is best symbolized by the contrast between the burka and the two-piece women’s business suit.
And the bloody part:
But that future will not be peaceful. We are in the early stages of a third world war. This conflict may occasionally involve standing armies on both sides, but, more often, it will be fought asymmetrically, as in Iraq or Manhattan, with our enemies seeking to avoid our military strengths while capitalizing on the vulnerabilities inherent in a free society, on the irresponsible nature of our media, and on our great national weakness, impatience.
The great wars of the last century, waged first over empire, then over ideology, were more horrific in the scale of their battles and the extent of their destruction than the cat-and-mouse struggle today. But the differences between the sides are even harder to reconcile. This struggle is about belief, something an order of magnitude more intractable than ideologies concocted by intellectuals. On one side, we Americans have our deep conviction that human freedom is of paramount value. Our enemies are convinced that the will of a punitive god is incontestable and that freedom cannot coexist with faith.
Opponents suffused with a vision of a vengeful god whom they serve as executioners, men who regard death as a promotion and disdain the humane coexistence for which we stand, must be fought until their defeat is total. And that is far easier said than done. This will, indeed,
be our longest war, if not our bloodiest.
This isn’t just a war on terrorism. It’s a struggle between the future and the past, between liberating innovation and suffocating tradition, between reason and superstition. This age of ever-expanding knowledge is so threatening to traditional societies that they barricade themselves behind primitive beliefs. This great century of technology also promises to be a century of mass retreats back to superstition.
Today, the focal point of our struggle with the new barbarians is the Islamic civilization of the Middle East, where a vast struggle is under way for the soul of a great religion. And it is by no means guaranteed that the liberalizing elements will win.