Whatever it's called, what I regard as the first major global conflict of the 21st century is still going on. And, in my opinion, will continue for years. Probably decades. Generations, maybe.
It's not that I'm pessimistic: quite the contrary. I believe that, in the end, we will still be able to enjoy beer and basketball - or decide not to; that women will have the option to drive cars; and that wearing trousers will not be a capital offense.
The reason I think this conflict will not be resolved quickly is that it is not only spread across the world: but is complex. What I think may take the most time is enough people deciding that they can live with a world that's changed since the days of Ur and the Chaldeans.
Economics, Religion, and a Burr Under the SaddleAt the risk of being pegged as one of the folks who see everything as a class conflict between bourgeois capitalists and the oppressed proletariat, I think economics is involved in the war on terror.
That's because I think that theocracies like the Ayatollahs' Iran aren't good for business, among other things. I've discussed economics, and thinking straight, before.
- "Cheeseburger Bill: Minnesota's Shocking Attack on Contemporary Values"
Apathetic Lemming of the North (February 22, 2011) Particularly
- "Emotions, the Frontal Cortex, The War on Terror, Anarchists, and the Illuminati"
(December 23, 2008)
- "Doctors, Terrorists, and the Proletariat: What's a Person to Think?"
(July 3, 2007)
I also think that the war on terror exists in large part because we live in a world of individual rights, Barbies, soap operas, bikinis, and Mickey Mouse. That offends folks like the Ayatollahs and Al Qaeda's leaders. They seem to have a burr under their saddle about people not being sufficiently 'Islamic.' Their own particular flavor of "Islam," of course. It's hard to imagine Shia and Sunni chauvinists, for example, getting along.1
I'm not entirely happy with all aspects of contemporary Western culture: but my beliefs include a high respect for tolerance and freedom. And that's another topic, for another blog.
- "Citizenship, Rules, Marriage, and Not Being Decently Quiet"
A Catholic Citizen in America (March 5, 2011)
- " 'Tolerance' isn't Always Tolerant"
A Catholic Citizen in America (December 7, 2010)
- "Florida Book-Burning, Tolerance, and 'The Good Old Days' "
A Catholic Citizen in America (September 9, 2010)
- I remember 'the good old days'
- They weren't
- I remember 'the good old days'
- "Unity, Diversity, and Being Catholic"
A Catholic Citizen in America (August 26, 2010)
- "Being Offended, Clueless Tolerance, and the Smell of Bacon"
(October 21, 2010)
- "Ali Hussain Sibat, Islamic Law, and Getting a Grip"
(March 19, 2010)
News and Views North Africa and the Middle EastI don't think that information technology 'made' folks in places like Tunisia, Egypt, and Libya, get fed up with their autocrats. I do think that Information Age technology and the social structures that are evolving around it lubricated the revolts: in part by letting individuals learn that they weren't the only ones who were ready for change.
I also think that folks like the Libyan colonel and the Saudi royal family aren't the only ones who are having a hard time adjusting to the Information Age. And that is yet another topic. (February 23, 2011, August 14, 2009)
Now, excerpts from news and views about -
"Sectarian clashes erupted at a school in Bahrain on Thursday, fueling fears a planned march on the royal court on Friday could inflame the Gulf island where a majority of citizens is Shi'ite but the ruling family is Sunni...."
"The Army joined with armed thugs yesterday to force protesters out of Cairo's Tahrir Square – one of many incidents lately that make Egyptians blame regime elements for trying to limit the scope of the revolution...."
(Christian Science Monitor)
"France became the first Western country to recognize Libya's opposition as the country's legitimate representative. The move comes as the European Union agreed to toughen sanctions against the North African country and its leader, Moammar Gadhafi...."
(Voice of America News)
"Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, testifying Thursday before the House Appropriations Committee, said, 'We are suspending our relationships with the existing Libyan embassy, so we expect them to end operating as the embassy of Libya.'..."
"Saudi police opened fire Thursday to disperse a protest in the mainly Shiite, oil-producing east, leaving at least one man injured, as the government struggled to prevent a wave of unrest sweeping the Arab world from reaching the kingdom...."
"President Ali Abdullah Saleh on Thursday proposed a new constitution that allows transition of some powers from the executive authority to the parliament, but opposition parties rejected the proposal and said Saleh's initiatives were too late...." (News Yemen)Somewhat-related posts:
"National Democratic Front Party (NDFP(announced on Thursday full support to the recent national initiative made by President Ali Abdullah Saleh at the General National Conference to come out of the current crisis witnessed by the national arena...."
(Yemen News Agency (SABA))
- "Libya: American President's 'Childish,' But Not 'Unilateral' "
(March 7, 2011)
- "Libya, the Human Rights Paragon: You Can't Make This Up"
(February 28, 2011)
- "Zimbabwe, Where Watching the Wrong Videos is Treason"
(February 25, 2011)
- "Information Technology, People, and a Changing World"
(February 23, 2011)
- "Bahrain and the Information Age"
(February 19, 2011)
- "Clinton: U.S. suspending relationships with Libyan Embassy"
Jill Dougherty, CNN (March 10, 2011)
- "Saudi unrest escalates, police fire on protesters"
msnbc.com (March 10, 2011)
- "In Egypt, a violent campaign to subvert the revolution"
Christian Science Monitor (March 10, 2011)
- "France Recognizes Libyan Opposition as EU Toughens Sanctions"
Voice of America News (March 10, 2011)
- "Bahrain prepares for march, sectarian clash erupts"
Edition: U.S., Reuters (March 10, 2011)
- "Yemeni protesters, opposition reject President's new initiative"
News Yemen (March 10, 2011)
- "National Democratic Front Party announces support to President Saleh's initiative "
Yemen News Agency (SABA) (March 10, 2011)
1 "The Search for Al Qaeda: Its Leadership, Ideology, and Future," Bruce Riedel, Brookings Institution, via Intelligence in Recent Public Literature, CIA (2008)