I’ve lived long enough to see now three iterations of the old Domino Theory; it goes something like…if we allow a country to fall, it will spiral into a cascade of other nearby countries to follow suit and be taken over by nefarious forces.
I saw in the 50’s the Korean War fought to a stalemate because of hysteria over the communists taking over all of Asia. Then in the 60’s there was Vietnam, with the so called communist threat taking over southeast Asia. Communism was our supposed external threat to “our way of life”.
Now, after about 40 years, were we’ve seen much of communism morph into a kind of hybrid capitalistic/communistic economic system in Russia and China and much of the rest of the previously dreaded communist world.
Now, thanks to the lemmings in the lemmingstream media, the new fear mongering external threat to “our way of life” is the radical Muslim Caliphate. Reappearing on all of the networks and the op-ed pages of much of the corporate media is the current generation of neo-con and neo-liberal communism fighters who took on the socialist tyrant Sadaam. They’re now focusing on the Muslim Caliphate threat.
Their solution, with a stunning history of previous failure, continues to be military intervention to stop the threat in its march to destroy “our way of life”. Little discussion from this hysterical right wing crowd seems to focus on the “way of life” of the people immediately impacted by the Jihadists in their direct path.
Cheney, their prime prophet and utterly discredited spokesperson, given tons of air time and print space, now is predicting that we face another attack from the radical Muslims in this decade, far worse than 9-11. I think this is his way of further deflecting scrutiny of his administration’s malfeasance in responding to the warnings he and his partners in crime ignored in the days just prior to the 9-11 attacks.
Now this is not to discount the seriousness of the collapse of any kind of political moderation or modernization throughout the middle east. Yes, I must admit, it looks now quite like a short stack of domino’s falling; at least a couple. Maybe not the whole set though. Indeed, these crazies warrant very close scrutiny and reasonable preparations for calamaties they might wreak on the international order and other sovereign states. The crazies I refer to are both the neo-con crowd and the Jihadists, both equally as potentially destructive of the world order.
I think this Administration has a pretty good handle on the problem and solutions, such as they might exist. One of the solutions might well be to let it play out in that region, exercising diplomacy and providing humanitarian aid while maintain a vigilant watch for actual threats to our sovereign territories. In playing observer rather than manipulator, the U.S. could well come out of this with two new allies to suppress terrorism from the lunatics; Iran and the Kurds. Turkey continues to want to join the EU and align with the west.
And, ironically, it has long been the goal of some of the neo-con crowd to diminish the threat they see from the middle east through fragmentation of Arab national identities. Well, it appears their wish may be granted.
Our first order of business should be our own order of business. Our domestic arena, including fixing what’s broken in both our economic and political systems. There’s no better defense against outside intruders in the order of things than a satisfied and happy citizenry. We don’t have that in place, do we? This of course includes assuring our people that they are being protected from threatening intruders as well as is possible and replacing such things as energy sources from that region with our own sustainable resources.
The radical Muslim crowd would not be having the success they appear to currently enjoy if the populace were feeling well served by their leaders and government in the region they are currently tearing up. Not much popular resistance to these intruder havoc makers in either Syria or now Iraq, is there? The same is true in Somalia and Yemen as well as places in Africa like Nigeria.
Stepping back for a minute, though, this regional crisis pales by comparison to the destruction of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness the global climate and environmental crises threaten if we don’t act now, immediately. But, I digress.
To be successful and earn popular support, a Caliphate will take many decades to consolidate power and succeed at governing. That is to our benefit because their leaders will have to focus internally. We can keep an eye on the crazies in their midst to protect ourselves. Popular support will be very difficult to earn from those they newly govern. Isn’t it true also that many in our own midst support theocracies? Wasn’t Israel founded as a sort of democratic theocracy? I’m not a believer and find theocratic states appalling but look around. They’re quite popular. We even recognize the theocratic state of the Vatican. So, what’s the big deal here?
The region will still be fragmented with family, tribal and religious differences. So, the vision of some monolithic enemy toppling the Domino stack in the region I think is unrealistic. The messiness of the region will continue to trouble us and we will continue having great difficulty understanding Arab culture. This factor alone ought to give us great caution in trying to engineer events, let alone engage in guerrilla warfare with our mostly conventional military machine.
Let’s focus our energies on our own domestic Domino game and maybe we might someday again be the envy of the world.