Is the universe racist?

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Recently a friend showed me an article which stated that Norway in 2013 deported over 5000 people, an increase of 31% when compared to 2012, as a way to fight crime in the country. The article goes on to state:

Nigerian citizens topped the list of those expelled for committing crimes, with 232 citizens expelled as a punishment in 2013, followed by Afghan citizens with 136 expelled as a punishment, and 76 Moroccans expelled as a punishment.

It doesn’t take a genius to see the commonality here, but for the multi-culturalists among us, here’s a hint: These countries are all almost entirely Muslim. My friend then asked a poignant question: If these deportations work in lowering crime, is the universe racist?

We just may want to consider, that no matter how open minded we like to consider ourselves, no matter how great we think democracy, when your own beliefs and practices either enable or guarantees your own destruction for something no one this side of Iran’s Ali Khamenei thinks is good, we may want to consider our core beliefs.

Again, Clausewitz’ model fails us in Syria

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We’re stuck in 18th century military thinking and we barely do that as well as Napoleon or Sherman.

Clausewitz’ theorem, that all war is extension of politics (or policy) by other means, simply does not hold in the majority of the wars America has been involved in in the last 15 years. War as politics is the brood of RealPolitic , that is that wars have a logical purpose which in the end makes for a better peace.

As Ralph Peters states, modern warfare has largely reverted back to its default setting, before the state became all-powerful. It is now, “Wars of Blood and Faith”, as Peters terms it. Clausewitz assumed that people, army, and government were separate entities in a war. Current engagements involve people fighting that do not represent governments, are not an organized army per se. This is one reason that when we see dead “civilians”, many in America want to do something to stop war crimes, as civilians are not lawful targets in war. But in the case of Iraq II, Afghanistan, Libya, Egypt and Syria, civilians were in fact the enemy. They wore no uniform and held few conventions that modern armies hold to. A US soldier can shoot a Taliban fighter in Afghanistan, and someone can protest: “You shot a farmer!”–and they’d be right. Current laws of war are wholly inadequate in this type of war. The outrage many express at the slaughter in Syria is merely what war always was before the last 200 years. In fact, Qaddafi and Assad are fighting in the only way they can win. Assad cannot throw down his arms, build a school, and quell the insurgency. Historically, this is how insurgencies were stopped: Remorselessly hunt down the insurgents and kill them until they quit. Because of the nature of a “people’s war” the combatants become so marbled with noncombatants, that innocents inevitably die. It’s why America will not win another “small war” in our lifetime.

Our confusion on this matter is clouding the analysis of Syria. It ruined our analysis of Libya and Egypt. If the exact same people fighting against those governments wore uniforms, America would not have sided with them. It was merely our instinct to protect civilians that resulted in US intervention. In both countries, chaos now reigns. In Syria, the most powerful forces of blood and faith are now at work–those of the Sunni/Shia schism. Little talked about, perhaps because Americans do not properly understand the intensity of hatreds that can arise between sects, is the fact that the Syrian conflict is boiling down, just as the Iran/Iraq War, and Iraq II’s insurgency did, to Shia vs Sunni Islam. In the case of Iraq, when the minority Sunni Baathist regime fell, and was replaced by Shia, disavowed Sunni Baathists, desperate to retain power, joined al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI). In Syria, a Shia minority, led by Assad, rules a Sunni majority. Iran, a majority Shia nation, backs Assad. If Assad falls, the civil war will rage on. This is not about the despot Assad, it is about Sunnis coalescing power in the form of al-Qaeda, against Shia Assad, backed by Hezbollah irregulars.

Deepening American involvement in Syria threatens to bring much more chaos. Iran is already threatening retaliation, Russia, more intervention. Better to let Hezbollah and al-Qaeda hammer each other.

Americans accept losing wars and mediocrity at the highest levels

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The bravest are surely those who have the clearest vision of what is before them, glory and danger alike, and yet notwithstanding, go out to meet it.~ Thucydides

Weakness provokes insult and injury, while a condition to punish, often prevents them.~Thomas Jefferson

I have complained often and loudly about the caustic culture inside the US Army. It is a witch’s brew of arrogance, ridiculous regulation, and inept leadership. There are good leaders to be sure–but there is a disturbing number of bad ones, marred by a lack of basic common sense in fighting wars, and an arrogance that would shock Commodus.

My favourite essayist, Ralph Peters wrote a scathing article in the New York Post about the ethical collapse in the Army’s officer corps. There are more frightening stories than Peters talks about in his piece.

And here’s the biggest problem with all of this: These generals could not even  advocate for the proper execution of our wars for the last 10 years.  If a Soldier gets shot while on guard duty and was found to have not worn his helmet–he’ll get in more trouble than the insurgent who did the shooting, because it’s likely no effort will be made to pursue the attacker. In every other era of American war, the command’s initial response to a Soldier being shot at the front gate would be :” The enemy is able to maneuver very closely to our base–we need to find him and kill him.” Now, the command goes for the easy target–the American trooper. I assure everyone, that insurgents move and gather quite closely to American bases in Afghanistan and never have a shot fired at them in anger. Never have terrorist had it so good.  A full-bird colonel may smile and shake the hand of a villager that is helping kill his troops, but ruthlessly belittle the American privates on his base for being out of uniform.

It’s easy to fight a foe that can’t fight back.

The US Army has loads of support troops who don’t know how to use radios properly, how to use weapons optics like the ACOG, and the US is getting its ass handed to it by a growing Afghan insurgency which actually knows how to shoot, move and communicate. But the new Army’s mantra is “Right time, right place, right uniform.”  What is this, a Wal-Mart corporate meeting? Left out of any messaging is the fact that the Army has one overriding mission: To kill dead the enemies of the United States. Period.

Meanwhile, our West Point educated generals and colonels, whom the illiterate Taliban are running circles around, are committing acts of sexual assault, bigamy, and outright theft of government finances.  Generals reduced to cutpurses.

Then there is the absolute tide of political correctness to which our generals are beholden. Every time I hear an interview with a general, I walk away not feeling inspired, but depressed. Wooden, and reading from a memorized slate approved for press release, these folks would make Patton vomit.  Make no mistake about it. Today, Patton would be arrested. He admitted Americans like a good fight. Why? Because to win a fight, you have to like it, at least a little. But our current military is so risk averse, that only a fool would look for the enemy on a regular basis.

It’s really too bad that these generals are being investigated for sexual indiscretion and petty thievery  but not for their performance in our wars.  Where is the vaunted moral courage and intellectual honesty in the officer’s corp? I should like to see many more canned for not doing their job: Stacking enemy bodies.  Sound harsh? It is. That’s war. The current counterinsurgency model is so “counter-intuitive” ( term often used to mask the insanity of a bad idea), that only an intellectual could believe it.

It’s time we take a long hard look at ourselves. Frankly, I’m embarrassed.  Back in the homeland, we now accept losing. We shouldn’t. A good loser is a loser.  The personalities that used to be our generals are now our college and professional football coaches. They went where the money is and where they can tell the truth.

Les Miles would have won wars:

As Lombardi said, winning is a habit. I reached a turning point in my life when I no longer accepted defeat. When mediocre academic performance was not acceptable, when age was not an excuse for physical decline, when a bad childhood was not justification for failure in every endeavor. I don’t want a participation trophy–I want the trophy that labels me the winner. It is a sad thing to me, where we have come as a people. Looking back at my youth, I wish there were something that could have made me care, something that could have made me try. I didn’t see difficulty as a challenge, but something to be avoided, so I ran away from life.

This is where relativism, as it must, has led us. If all things are equal, winning is neither good nor bad. If all behavior is the same, then we can accept the same from a 4-star general as from a 15 year old.  The engine of our nation–its people–are in decline. I have no recipe to fix the problem. Perhaps it as Oswald Spengler believed, inevitable  like the seasons.

Our flaccid response to the humiliation in Benghazi is illustrative of the current American acceptance of defeat. I’m with Ralph Peters on this one (as usual). Our response should have been devastating. Instead, our government wrung its hands, and tweaked “talking points”. We haven’t made the world a safer place with our rhetoric. No one this side of Mother Theresa respects weakness, least of all Islamic extremists. Our collegiate theorems have not trumped the reality of war: You must kill the enemy until he stops fighting. Rest assured he’s trying to do the same thing.

Islam’s Last Man

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“War is a force that gives us meaning”~Chris Hedges

At some subliminal level, there is the belief that the world is peaceful, now, and in fact the numbers bear this out.  There is less mass killing going on today than at any time in recorded history.

But why?  There are some that believe that there is less killing because of Francis Fukuyama’s “End of History”. The basic argument being that democracy has trumped war.    At a deeper level, Fukuyama’s little understood theory states that people in democratic societies become ever more self-absorbed, and eventually lose any taste for war.  They become what he calls, “Last Men”.   Fukuyama’s theory took a severe beating from everyone (including myself), both on the Left and Right.  The people on the Left, ears perked because of Fukuyama’s self-proclaimed Neo Conservative views, believed that he was condoning the forceful application of democracy. Those on the Right scoffed when the planes crashed into the Twin Towers, and asked, where is your Last Man now?

At its core, Fukuyama’s argument is that of Hegel (why always Hegel?).  He believes that history and man are evolving and that we have essentially found our social Holy Grail: Liberal Democracy.  Democracy, he says, fulfills the understated need of Man–the need to be recognized.  Whereas the easiest way for a man to earn recognition in the ancient world was to become a warlord, now, a vote can provide “shadow recognition”.

But wait.  Just when we think Fukuyama is advocating a purposeful journey to the Last Man, he shifts his argument to that of Nietzsche.  When we get there, when we’ve achieved a state of peace and comfort, we feel no passion.  Nietzsche argued that war is a manifestation of man’s desire for passion and danger.  This flies in the face of the commonly held view that war occurs because of class disparities and economic reasons, which is the Marxist view, and in fact, the view held by many on the Right in the United States.  Fukuyama  recognizes the emptiness at the end of liberal democracy’s road.  We are the dog who’s caught the car. Now what?  Nietzsche recognised  the human need to not only be fed, but to feel energized.  Why else would people do such things as bungie-jumping, extreme sky-diving, and dangerous mountain climbing? Or simply playing a pickup game of basketball or engaging in political argument for that matter.

Where we have gone critically wrong however, is in leaving the liberal out of liberal democracy when it comes to events such as the Arab Spring.  What do we mean by liberal in this sense? Essentially it comes down to a belief in Lockean ideals.  The idea that humans have fundamental rights, regardless of where they are born.  And where do those fundamental rights come from? For Locke and America’s founding fathers, they came from God.  In today’s postmodern world, there is no fundamental reason for inalienably rights. Where do they come from?  Apparently from nowhere.

So there are the fatal flaws of a liberal democracy.  A lack of meaning and fervor.  The Left, eternally beholden to the idea that crime, terrorism,  and most of the ills of the modern world are linked to joblessness or working conditions, does not fathom the importance that radical Islam plays in enervating and providing the chance to be noticed for a young Muslim man.

As the Libyan, Egyptian, and other Arab governments fell, and the Syrian government still holds in the balance, the zeitgeist of economic determinism gave secular Westerners hope.  Striding from the shadows of despotism, true believers saw Islam’s Last Man.  that somehow Big Macs would overcome fanaticism.  Only a person who has ordered too much fast food but never read a page of Joshua would really believe such a thing.   At its roots, this belief is a denial that Islam in inherently dangerous or aggressive.  It is a belief–a hope–that Islam is just another religion.

Fukuyama states, in the ending of his original essay on the matter:

The end of history will be a very sad time. The struggle for recognition, the willingness to risk one’s life for a purely abstract goal, the worldwide ideological struggle that called forth daring, courage, imagination, and idealism, will be replaced by economic calculation, the endless solving of technical problems, environmental concerns, and the satisfaction of sophisticated consumer demands. In the post-historical period there will be neither art nor philosophy, just the perpetual caretaking of the museum of human history. I can feel in myself, and see in others around me, a powerful nostalgia for the time when history existed. Such nostalgia, in fact, will continue to fuel competition and conflict even in the post-historical world for some time to come. Even though I recognize its inevitability, I have the most ambivalent feelings for the civilization that has been created in Europe since 1945, with its north Atlantic and Asian offshoots. Perhaps this very prospect of centuries of boredom at the end of history will serve to get history started once again.

But for many in the world, history is just beginning. For millions of people around the world, fighting and killing is still the most meaningful thing they will ever do.  All the better if the killing guarantees paradise.  No amount of Super Sized meals or economic opportunity will change this.  And while a vote can give a person a sense of recognition and power, it can also enrage him if the person he voted for doesn’t get elected.  While it is easy to believe that people like Mubarak held millions under his boot, a closer look will reveal a horde of jihadists that he’d imprisoned to maintain order.  It is the same in Saudi Arabia and it will be the same again in Iraq.  No secular government can survive in the Arab world without maintaining a police state.  We can educate the ideological, and we’ll have a smarter terrorist.  All of the 9-11 conspirators were educated.  We can give the ideological a job, and then he will have money to buy AK-47s.  We can provide him with free health care, and then he’ll receive treatment after blowing his fingers off while making a bomb in his basement.

In fact, the world is still a very dangerous place.  At no time in history has a single man been capable of so much destruction.  Once a single  zealot could only raise a sword in defiance.  Now he can plant a single bomb containing VX gas in a sports stadium and kill 40,000 people in 30 minutes. A single man can move from one side of the world to the other in a matter of hours, whereas it used to take years. The breakup of the Soviet empire and the dissolving of other regimes has spread weapons to the four winds.  States such as Iran and Pakistan routinely use terrorism to achieve political goals.  And even supposedly reformed Russia routinely takes steps to hinder America, supporting blatantly insane regimes like Syria and Iran.    And though al-Qaeda has suffered a series of strategic defeats, it is nonetheless a potent entity, far from dead.  

Now Egypt has elected a Muslim fundamentalist as president, Mohamed Morsi, of the Muslim Brotherhood.  Though Morsi talks a good game, promising to honor all Egypt’s peace agreements, analysts, such as myself will watch his actions more closely than his words.  Morsi promises to work to free from prison Omar Abdel-Rahman, “The Blind Sheik”, who is convicted of conspiracy in the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center. Rahman is a fundamentalist Islamic terrorist to the core.  Morsi has called Israeli leaders “vampires” and “killers.” It seems that even if Morsi plans to run a  truly democratic country, Egypt is destined to become a safe haven for terrorists.   Already, two weeks ago, a group of terrorists moved from the Sinai Peninsula and killed several Israeli citizens.  It is not difficult to image Egypt, still psychologically distraught by defeats at the hand of Israel, could use proxy-terror armies similar to Hezbollah to attack Israel.

In any event, it is doubtful that Morsi is Islam’s Last Man.  MacDonalds and the internet have done little to stem the tide of Islamism.  In fact, never before has Islamic extremism been so mainstream.   The new model is political Islam.  Islamists realize they cannot rule a country by merely blowing everything up.  That is the Abu Zarqawi model.  But in these regions, in Yemen, Somalia, Egypt, Libya, Pakistan and Syria, the jihadist is gaining ground.   My tepid prediction is that the next 20 years will not be pretty.  And the last 5 have not been very comely either.

Leave Afghanistan Now

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The burning of the Korans at Bagram Airfield in Afghanistan and the subsequent riots and murder of 5 NATO soldiers put all questions to rest about our future in the country.  There is nothing more the US can gain in this war.  Amid our apologies and groveling, our warped attempts to prove we are not imperialists, the Taliban and crime lords thrive, resting peacefully in Pakistan.  And we still pace the floor like Hamlet churning the possibilities through Washington’s mushy head.

The cultural differences between the US and many Afghans are so great, they simply cannot be overcome in a  manner that benefits in any meaningful way the US.  The country is still largely run by thieves and criminals, and outside Kabul there is little true support for the US effort.  Our national prestige is being drained away by the ridiculous “sensitivity” of Pashtun Muslims, whom seize upon any sleight as a reason to engage in mayhem.

Why are we still there?  It’s time to leave, and let Afghanistan face the reality it created for itself.  A future of crime, chaos, fundamentalism and misery.  To the Afghan government and the Taliban:  Keep your evil inside your own borders this time.To Washington:  Stop embarrasing your nation and its troops with your equivocating and hand wringing.  Bring back the pop-up targets you’ve provided for blood drenched, hateful Islamists.

Bring our boys home.

The West is fooling itself when it comes to Islam in the Middle East

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All of us here today understand this: We do not fight Islam, we fight against evil.” ~George W. Bush

We are not at war against Islam. We are at war against terrorist organizations that have distorted Islam or falsely used the banner of Islam,” ~Barack Obama

Surely we are not at war with Islam.  If we were, we’d kill everyone who professed the Muslim faith.  The problem with Obama’s and Bush’s statements is that they lead many to underestimate the level to which Muslims in the Middle East and Asia support the jihadists. Throwing out statistics that show only a small percentage of Muslims are responsible for the destruction wrought is a bit like saying that because less than 1% of Americans serve in the US Army, only 1% of Americans support the US military.   People fail to realize the power of both the “our team” mentality and religion, especially in parts of the world where the people have little hope in this world and nation states have been shamed in war by America and Israel.

Many people throughout the Muslim world gain satisfaction when the US suffers a setback at the hands of extreme Islam. Otherwise, the extremists could not exist to the extant that they do. Polls throughout the Muslim world show that Muslims in the Middle East support the actions of the jihadists.  Most Muslims, even those living is Western countries, support Sharia Law, which is fundamentally at odds with Western values.  In a poll of 9 countries, Turkey was the only nation in which a majority of the people said that Sharia should not comprise the law in entirety, or be a “source of legislation.”   Pakistanis, despite the billions of military and domestic aid poured into their country by the US, continue to despise Americans.  Most Pakistanis also wish that bin Laden was not dead.  

People shocked at the recent Egyptian election results should study some history.  I’ve long said that Egypt was the spiritual center of jihadism, not Saudi Arabia.  Saudi Arabia made good fodder for the Left because of oil.  Egypt, in the poll cited above, had the highest percentage of people that believed Sharia should be the sole root of law.

The Muslim countries that have in recent years received the most American aid are Pakistan and Egypt.  Approximately 25% of the money used to fund the Pakistani army comes from American aid.  The top recipients of US foreign aid in 2011 are  Afghanistan, Pakistan, Israel and Egypt in that order.  Egypt has routinely ranked among the top nations in the world in the number of dollars given to it by the American government.

There appears to be an inverse correlation between the positive views in a country when measured against the amount of US aid provided to it.  The argument of course is that America is trying to show these countries that the US is not the enemy.  This method of appeasement is failing.  In a poll published by the Washington Post shortly after Mubarak stepped down, 79 percent of Egyptians viewed the US negatively, with 20% saying they have a positive view of the US.  This is a sharp decline from the Bush years when 30 percent of Egyptians viewed the US positively.

The problems in giving countries like Pakistan and Egypt lots of money are macrocosmic of what I saw happening in local projects in Afghanistan.  The money will always find its way into the hands of America’s enemies because they are the most ruthless, devious and aggressive portions of those societies.  They also in many cases have a monopoly on violence, something the state usually lays claim to–if it is not a failed state.  In Afghanistan the people were not “all in” for the Americans.  They really didn’t care that much, at least in areas far from Kabul, if the insurgents blew up a few American Imperialists.  They’d take five bucks to plants a bombs and be on their way.  In one fell swoop they’d made a month’s wage, killed some infidels, impressed the locals with their “bravery”, and maintained a semblance of national pride.

Egypt’s Mubarak held the forces of Islamic jihad at bay with the only weapon that works against it: Decisive brutality.  As with Saudi Arabia, Egypt was a police state, as much because of the extremists as Mubarak.  Only with extreme vigilance could the Egyptian government survive.  Frankly, Mubarak may have been the West’s only hope in Egypt, but starry-eyed Westerners with a Democracy fetish ran him off, unleashing a hoard of militants, radicals and young men electrified with a rage whose dynamo was built in 1967 and 1973 during the humiliating defeats of the Egyptian Army at the hands of the Israelis.  The effect of these defeats upon the Arab psyche cannot be overstated.

The Arab Spring has generated nothing resembling Western democracy and displays brilliantly the weakness of Democracy itself:  People can vote for any horrific idea they choose.  Hitler was democratically elected.  Muslims have voted and acted exactly how we should have expected them to.  In Egypt, the Muslim Brotherhood and the Salafists now hold power.  The Salafists in Egypt hold the same views as al-Qaeda and Hamas.  Christians are trying to leave the country, fearing for their safety.    

In Libya, fresh off a democratically generated war crime, insurgents fly al-Qaeda’s flag in Benghazi.  

The revolutions in Egypt and Libya were hardly induced by only few extremists.  In fact,it  seems the revolutions enjoyed the backing of millions upon millions of extremists.  It is the same sort of thing we saw in Nazi Germany.  Many Germans were not Nazis or did not take part in the actual fighting.  But most of them wanted to see the Nazis win.  And so it is with Muslims in Libya, Syria, Iran, Egypt, Gaza, the West Bank  and Lebanon.  The Muslims there overwhelmingly want to thrash Israel and the United States in any manner they can.  If the terror proxies can trounced by the hyperpower or the Jewish state, we can of course expect the “innocent” population of “moderate” muslims to melt back into the woodwork.

Islam unifies people against Israel and the West.  As Mark Steyn writes in his book, America Alone, the draw of Western “McWorld” to the average Arab male is vastly overstated.  Secularism is about as un-motivational as a Rosie O’donnell workout video.  It is meaninglessness and provides no promise of power or life after death, no cloak of righteousness; something that means far more to a poor 23 year old man in Cairo than does the promise of flipping burgers.

Now Israel has a monstrous number of problems on its hand, all coming to bear at once.  Iran wants the bomb and is not far off from getting it.  Egyptians are muttering that they want the Camp David Peace Accord “adjusted.”  20,000 surface-to-air missiles are missing from Qaddafi’s stockpiles.  The current American president’s negative comments about Netanyahu were caught on an open mic.  

The vast majority of Muslims in the Middle East are not jihadists or terrorists.  But most of them support the actions of extremist Islam when those actions are directed against Westerners or Israelis.  Our money and McDonald’s cannot possibly fill the same void that is filled by Islam.  And Democracy, as with any form of government, is only as good as the people that comprise it.

So what is the answer?  Does America have to kill every last Muslim? Not any more than it had to kill every last German or Japanese.  America has only to decisively defeat the front-line troops of Jihad.  But decisive victory may no longer be something the West is capable of, despite its overwhelming superiority in almost every facet of military and economic might.

The Arab Spring has not created Arab states that are more stable or less violent.  It has provided kindling for another 100 years of Jihadist immolation.  Our children’s children will see The Long War continue.

Is the West Doomed?

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Last night I caught a clip of Fareed Zakaria’s show on CNN.  I’d been watching much more important things–pro football–but I can’t stand the ads on AFN (American Forces Network) so I channel surf when I have to.  I’ve had mixed thoughts about Zakaria, primarily because i felt he pandered a bit to the Left when things were going badly in Iraq.   All in all though, I think I like him and appreciate his opinions.

Zakaria was talking about the current state of world economics.  He listed three factors that have complicated the problems America and Europe Face.

1)  An aging population.  As people in Western nations age and retire, they need ever increasing money from the retirement system.  The amount of young people in the work force whom pay taxes which support those retirement systems are dwindling.  The crisis in Greece resulted from primarily two factors:  The death spiral birth rates which cannot replenish the workforce and a lack of any economic growth.

2) Advancing technology.  Zakaria contends that technology improves efficiency to such a degree that employers no longer need to employ as many people.  I’m not convinced this is the issue that Zakaria believes.  First,  the unemployment rate in the US effectively doubled in about three years.  This had nothing to do with advancing technology.  Secondly,  while it may take fewer people to make a single pair shoes than it used to, manufacturers  make more pairs of shoes.  Then those shoes make their way to every corner of the world, something that could not happen before technology multiplied the power of the individual person.  Technology, in my opinion, has not lessened the need for workers, because more production and distribution is now required and expected of the individual–and that’s because of technology.   Corporations look not only for efficiency, but more production.  As I used to joke when I was a police officer:  The advanced technology available to police did not make their jobs easier, it only upped the expectation for productivity from the department and increased the amount of evidence required to get a conviction.

3) Globalization.  Globalization allows employers to outsource labor.

While all of these things have some impact, I think that Zakaria skips over the cultural shift occurring throughout America.  The cultural war inside the US is tearing it apart; the “have-nots” now expect success be handed to them.  Moreover, multiculturalism is instigating conflict.  The West is now like a man who walks around grinding his teeth all the time, but he can’t figure out why he does it.   He feels an internal stress that he finds inexplicable.  That stress is the breaking down of trust, the great binder of all societies.  Samuel Huntington said that culture is made up of two things:  Religion and language.  These two things breed trust.

The economists can see the technical reasons for the financial problems in the US and Europe.  But as our culture rips apart, the experts will find it more and more difficult to implement the changes necessary to prevent self-destruction.  Europe will disintegrate before America, but the weakening of America will accelerate Europe’s insolvency.  The Demographic numbers in Europe are undeniable–and they cannot be changed in our lifetimes, or in  the next.  Germany’s birthrate per woman is 1.42, [CIA World Fact Book, 2010] which is a world away from the 2.1 births per woman required merely to sustain a population.  But 1.42 doesn’t tell the whole story, because that number is significantly bolstered by immigrant birthrates, particularly Muslim birthrates on the order of 7 per female.  The Germans brought in many Turkish people in the 1970s because the workforce was significantly undermanned.  Such is the case throughout Europe, where Thatcher’s prediction of government running out of other people’s money have come true:  more old people on the retirement system and fewer young people to work and provide taxes.  Greece’s birthrate’s are even lower and the country imploded.  Italy is next:  Witness that country’s anemic 1.32 birthrate.  Bye bye bistro.

Democracy is a tool for change and in Democracy, anything can change.  Voters whom bring third or second world cultural views to Europe will change Europe.  They already have.

We are living the classic Chinese curse.  We are living in interesting times.  We can now see for ourselves how Rome fell, and recognize that it fell on its own sword.  The problems in America are evident in everything from America’s economic woes to it’s inability to defeat a band of toothless dirt farmers in Afghanistan.

The election of Barack Obama has hastened America’s demise, but it is not the cause.  His election was a symptom of the changes brought upon the country.  As Pat Buchanan will outline in his upcoming book:  The Suicide of a Superpower, America and Europe are fracturing upon racial lines.  Blacks in America voted for Barack Obama at a 24:1 ratio, primarily because of his African American heritage.  The more we have talked about race in America, the more racially divided we have become.  While laws do protect minorities more than they did in the past, the level of distrust along racial divides is as great as ever.

As the culture shift occurs,  the new demography continues to vote itself a bigger chunk of the welfare pie.  And it’s only just begun.  The birthrate issues in Europe are virtually irreversible.  There is simply no arguing the math.  The only argument is that people can change the way they think and vote.  But if we think that entire cultures suddenly change the way they think without a catastrophe as the motivator,  we should look over our history books again.  The decline of the West is inevitable at this point.  The question is, What does that mean for the rest of the world?  It is not the death of democracy we are witnessing, only it’s little talked about dark side.

Can the jihadists win?

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The stock argument used by those arguing against the War on Terror is that the terrorists cannot possibly win.  These people believe that even if America did not take military actions against Islamic jihadists, the jihadists could not defeat the US.  This is false.  The Clausewitzian cliche’ here is that war is an extension of politics.  In this case terrorism is an extension of politics.   Al-Qaeda need not destroy all of America’s military forces, or its infrastructure, or imprison large swaths of its population in prison camps.  It only needs to change the way people think and vote.  It has already done this.

In 2004 an Islamic terrorist cell inspired by al-Qaeda detonated 10 bombs in a Madrid train terminal, killing nearly 200 people and wounding over 2000.  Three days later the Spanish Socialist Party was elected to office, ousting the incumbent conservative prime minister,  Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, from office.  The Socialist Party leadership then implemented legislation to remove the 1500 Spanish troops from Iraq, as it was determined that the prime motivation for the bombings was Spanish contribution to the Iraq War.

Through the ballot box, terrorists rendered Spain’s military combat ineffective in Iraq.  That’s something that a modern-well equipped army would have had a much tougher time accomplishing were it to adhere to the old rules of locating enemy military assets and destroying them until the opposing government capitulated.  Instead, the opposing government was rendered ineffective through the democratic process.

Personal security is the number one concern of the animal.  Hobbes knew it and Abraham Maslow came close to knowing it.  Maslow placed the need for food, sleep, and sex above (or below at the base of his pyramid) the need for personal security.  However, I disagree.  People will give up food, sleep and sex if they are immediately threatened with physical harm.  I’m quibbling.  Obviously the imminence of the problem comes in to play.  Either way, physical security is very important.  Societies do not progress without it; all the people’s minds stay focused on war and fighting for security.

The terrorist must sow the idea of imminent attack.  The victim population must come to believe that the terrorists can move freely about, that any lull in violence is the choice of the terrorists and not because security forces are limiting the terrorists abilities to move, plan, build bombs and attack.  The media plays a huge roll in modern terrorism.  Not only in changing the minds of ordinary civilians, but in motivating and recruiting other terrorists.  The internet is rife with jihadist propaganda.   Another argument against the War on Terror is that the dangers of being killed in a terror attack are so small, any great fears of terrorism are based on illusions.  To some extent this is true.  However, were America’s military and police not constantly on watch, I believe that 9-11 or the Madrid train bombings would be a monthly occurance, at the very least.

Through the ballot box, the jihadists can win.  And they can do it with far less damage and effort than it takes to win a conventional war.  In many places in Europe, it’s now illegal to make any derogatory comments about Islam.  Many in the West view their tolerance of other cultures as proof of moral superiority.  Any talk of why another culture’s practices are evil or not acceptable are viewed as proof of hate mongering.  These cultural relativists have little idea of what true hate mongering is, but they’ll get a glimpse of it as their culture is changed slowly through the democratic process to a place more comfortable to extreme Islam.

Or maybe they won’t even realize it when it happens.

The truly frightening thing about the power of culture is that a person ensconced within the living tomb of a dying society can be experiencing hell but barely realize it.  There is no experience of not living in Hell.  Hell becomes the default for life.  It goes a long way in making the Buddhist argument that man should reduce his expectations and desires, not increase them.  Europe is dying a slow death.  It’s birthrates are catastrophically low.  The Muslim birthrates are about 4 to 5 times higher than white Europeans.  The low European birthrate will have multiple negative effects.  First, the current European economic model cannot be sustained.  If one thinks that America has looming economic problems because of its social security system, it’s nothing to what Europe faces.  Not only do Europeans have much more generous retirement and unemployment benefits, they barely have any military to speak of.  As fewer young people are injected into the work cycle, fewer people are paying into the government handout system.  This is exactly what happened in Greece.  By 2040 or so, the Greek retirement system will absorb 25% of the Greek GDP.  The rest of Europe will follow in domino fashion.  At some point we may wake up to find ourselves in a political system more akin to that desired by totalitarian theocrats than to Western democracy.  We may not even know the difference.

Secondly, a rising Muslim population in relation to white European population will spell more votes for Muslims.  If you don’t think that will have real, negative impact on the continent, take a look at the pew report that shows 75% of Muslims polled don’t believe that Arabs took part in the 9-11 attacks.  Not enough?  40 percent of British Muslims want Sharia in their country.  Sharia courts are used in Britain to settle Muslim civil cases.   Terrorism has worked and it’s not because we fought back.  It’s because many continue to believe that by changing laws in Muslims’ favor, it will somehow change the way many Muslims feel and believe.  However it’s not working out that way.  By changing the laws and customs of our culture, we’re merely changing ourselves.  Sometimes changing ourselves is good.  It’s just difficult to believe, when we look at the state of every predominately Muslim country around the world, that that’s what we want to change into.

Yes, the jihadists can win.  The oddity of democracies is that they can be changed in different way than oligarchies.   They can be changed merely because the people feel like changing laws.  When the West stops fighting for what made it great, when we think that by passing laws to appease the more brutal and aggressive people among us, militant Islam will be well on its way to winning.  The people will lose faith in their state’s ability to protect them from aggression, and so will live only for today, which means a cycle of appeasement that brings transient comfort to those who cast the momentary vote, but condemns future generations to the slippery slope greased with the hanging chads of weakness and cowardice.

The Arab Spring and global insurgency

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Recently, Israeli Major-General Eyal Eisenberg predicted an “Arab Winter” in which the revolutions taking place around the Arab world culminate in a multi-front general war against Israel.  While it remains to be seen if that’s the case, I take a very dim view of what’s happening in places like Egypt and Libya.  Not surprisingly, many on the Left are overjoyed at the Arab Spring.  To them, it’s about Muslim hippies fighting The Man.  At an intellectual level, they may sense the guile and will of Jihadist Islam, but they willfully ignore this in favor of Coke and a Smile in Muslim lands.

The Arab Spring fits quite nicely into the Global Insurgency theory of modern terrorism.  This theory posits that Islamic Salafists (those holding to rigid, medieval views of Islam and life in general), are not only working in local insurgencies, but hope that various uprisings around the world will eventually coalesce into a greater Islamic state.  It is similar in ways to Mao’s and Lenin’s doctrines.  The local fighters of course do not think at this level, worrying only about their immediate needs.  But people at the top of al-Qaeda and similar terrorist organizations do think about the big picture.

We must also consider how clever al-Qaeda’s masterminds are.  Jihadists, for instance, have actually studied the homosexual movement in America in order to find out how such a small group can cause so much change on its behalf.  I believe that many in the jihadist movement came to recognize the Western mind’s affinity for a popular uprising.  In stead of a “top down” jihad, with men like bin Laden and Abu Zarqawi getting lots of media attention, the jihadist movement is now trying to put a grassroots face on its global insurgency.  And it’s worked brilliantly.  There’s very little to indicate that those who’ve seized power in Egypt and Libya know very much about running a country, but al-Qaeda got what it wanted: the removal of secular Arab leadership from the Sinai Peninsula with all the trappings of state power left intact and with no Western troops on the ground to make sure things turn out the way the West would prefer.

The Palestinian cause represents the great Red Herring for al-Qaeda.  Arab despots and terrorist groups need the Palestinians because it keeps the worlds eyes off what those Arab leaders are really doing.  No mater what happens, they can keep pointing to Israeli “oppression”, which is why Palestinians never really want to come to the discussion table and cut a real deal; they’re being manipulated and funded by terrorists in order to maintain pressure on Israel.  The Palestinians are being used as a classic, global insurgency agitation tool.  The Palestinians will continue to sucker-punch Israel.  Al-Qaeda et al hopes that Israel will respond in a way which negatively changes world opinion against the Jewish state, thus opening Israel to attack by Arab states without Western intervention.

My time walking through the Old Testament

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I’ll be writing several entries on my blog about my experiences in Afghanistan.  Look for it soon.  It’ll include photos and several vignettes.  Not everyone will like what they read; we screwed the pooch on this one.