Egypt, Iran and the Regional Civil War to Come
The Middle East is coming unglued. The turbulence smells a lot like the first stirrings of a regional civil war. If my analysis is correct, the question we should be asking is — Who wins this struggle? The fate of civilization may hang in the balance.
I fanatics prevail, a nuclear armed fundamentalist Islamic empire (don’t be confused by the term caliphate) will emerge. The MAD balance of atomic Armageddon vs. détente of the Cold War will seem like a pleasant dream. Substitute deterrence through Mutually Assured Destruction for mutually assured martyrdom and you will glimpse the scope and gravity of the risks that are just presenting themselves…even to the New York Times editorial staff.
Sadly, too few of our opinion leaders, and a vanishingly small cohort of the young Twitteration, have taken any well-taught courses that combine political science and the relevant history of the American and European experience in the 20th century.
It is all about the power of organization and the organization of power.
In times of social, economic and political turmoil, the first apparent victories go to a subgroup that is organized around one or two unifying ideas and whose leaders have created a clever organizational strategy. But there always are parasitic or temporarily allied subgroups waiting to exploit the inevitable first opportunity to fill a leadership gap. These groups tend to operate in a stealth mode in which a “front group” – often employing sincerely reasonable types – conceals a ruthless inner core. These are the ruling-ideologues-in-waiting. The difference between having one or two unifying ideas and a full on ideology is the capacity or lack thereof to inspire enduring commitment and the moral (immoral) capacity to ruthlessly cull the ranks of the apostates when the time comes. This is why ideologues tend to win the ultimate victory.
The ruthless jihadist planners do not need a Marx or a Hitler to generate a faux-scientific ideology. Theycome pre-equipped with an atavistic pre-scientific one. The vision of a pan-Arab superpower is dying (because Iran is not Arab) in favor of a pan-Muslim Empire – in effect the Fourth Reich. This has been bubbling under the surface for decades. The unifying notion of a common enemy, the hated Jews and their tiny, unreasonably successful country, has not succeeded in producing the necessary sense of unity. But the rapid achievement of unity-in-power will do the trick nicely. All that is needed is for Egypt, Iran and Pakistan to unite, and the rest will follow like a catastrophic flood that follows the collapse of an aging dam.
We in the West do not have to accept the realistic plausibility of this dark vision to appreciate its immense persuasive power among the resentful and power-deprived Muslim males of the region.
The West has traded its colonial role as the carrier of modernity to the unwashed for survivor guilt. As a result of that experience, the moral self confidence of the western democracies, taken as a whole, has collapsed. This has effectively gutted the West’s effective will to tenaciously and intelligently respond to the rapidly escalating threat. Taken collectively, the developed Western democracies are much like an old woman with a cane walking in a thug infested neighborhood. Western culture has advanced osteoporosis of the spine.
There is a truly Western ideology with the power to inspire an effective response to this crisis. Its roots are in the Renaissance. Its core organizational structure was first manifest in the American constitutional system. What remains is the simple task of connecting the dots. The starting point is a concise, carefully thought out essay, CREATIVITY & SURVIVAL, 17 pages long, a PDF download linked at < http://jaygaskill.com/CreativityAndSurvival.pdf >.
We are the wave of the future, unless we allow ourselves to become so demoralized that we simply give up our legacy and shrink into the hedonistic bubble of comfortable denial.
This is well beyond liberal and conservative squabbles, but it requires the liberals to jettison the America-hating left and the conservatives to shun the isolationist right. We can hope for an American Churchill, but we can make do with someone who is simply brazen enough to speak moral and practical truth to cupidity.
Gaskill’s Egypt Series
Jay B Gaskill is a California attorney. His short story collection, Lost Souls Coffee Shop is available as an e-book from Amazon and other publishers.