Ultima Thule

In ancient times the northernmost region of the habitable world - hence, any distant, unknown or mysterious land.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

The civilisations of the modern world are more likely to collapse than collide

By Aussiegirl

Judging by what is going on in Iraq (we can only hope that reason prevails and that calm is restored) and in other parts of the globe, the tribalist mentality and history of the Islamic culture lends itself to the sort of sort of fratricidal violence discussed in the article below.

If the prospect of an all-out war between the Moslem states of the ME were not so dangerous to world and economic stability, one might even entertain the idea that this is the best we could hope for -- that the savage nations of Islam turn their blood lust on each other and save us the trouble. Of course the endless numbers of global repercussions resulting from such a war precludes our wholehearted endorsement of such an outcome. Let's hope that it is not beyond our powers to keep a lid on this powder keg which is known as the Middle East. But one can't help but feel that at least while they are at each other's throats they leave ours alone. Sad that we have come to the pass where such thoughts occur in the dark watches of the night.

Frankly, I think that Bin Laden and his supporters (which includes a wide array fellow-travelers, including even Ahmadinejad -- after all, haven't we heard from multiple experts in the field that it is entirely possible that Bin Laden has been sheltered since 9/11 in Iran at various times?) have decided for the time being against a strategy of staging another spectacular attack on American soil. It may be that they are too weak and scattered after being relentlessly hunted by the allies in the War on Terror since the attack. It may also be, as I have thought for some time, that the attack on 9/11 was more spectacular and successful than even Bin Laden had expected -- leading not only to a robust and violent military reaction by the United States (something he perhaps did not expect given the lack of reaction during the Clinton years), but also left him in the uncomfortable position of having to come up with something even MORE spectactular as a second act.

With all the increased security and attention that has been raised since 9/11, a spectacular follow-up attack is much more difficult to organize. We were caught unawares on 9/11 -- but we are on guard now. Failing that, I think it looks as though the next approach is one of economic destabilization brought on by attacks on oil installations and infrastructure such as we are seeing in Nigeria and now with the failed (bungled and rather puny) attack on a major Saudi refinery.

I can't help but say, however, that there is a part of me that wouldn't mind sitting back for a while and just watching them blow each other to smithereens, thereby saving us the trouble. Of course, that would mean a worldwide oil shock and dislocation of the world economy. Some choice.

Telegraph -- Opinion

It is nearly 13 years since my colleague and near neighbour, Samuel Huntington, published his seminal essay "The Clash of Civilisations?" in Foreign Affairs. As works of academic prophecy go, this has been a real winner - up there with George Kennan's epoch-making 1947 essay, "The Sources of Soviet Conduct", on the containment of the Soviet Union.

"In this new world," wrote Huntington, "the principal conflicts of global politics will occur between nations and groups of different civilisations… The fault lines between civilisations will be the battle lines of the future."[...]And yet, for all its seductive simplicity, I have never entirely bought the theory that the future will be dominated by the clash of civilisations. For one thing, the term "civilisation" has always struck me as much too woolly. I know what a religion is. I know what an empire is. But, as Henry Kissinger might have said, who do I call when I want to speak to Western Civilisation? Anyone who crosses the Atlantic as often as I do quickly learns how vacuous that phrase has become. [...]The really big problem with the theory, however, is right in front of our very noses. Question: Who has killed the most Muslims in the past 12 months? The answer is, of course, other Muslims.[...]The future therefore looks more likely to bring multiple local wars - most of them ethnic conflicts in Africa, South Asia and the Middle East - than a global collision of value-systems. Indeed, my prediction would be that precisely these centrifugal tendencies, most clearly apparent in Iraq today, will increasingly tear apart the very civilisations identified by Samuel Huntington.

In short, for "the clash of civilisations", read "the crash of civilisations".


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