October 2, 2006
Some people wont agree with me. . .
Some people won't agree with me, but I'm pretty sure that I'm right on this one. One day, most probably in my lifetime, there will be a terrorist attack involving a nuclear device, or a rogue state will use a nuclear device as a first strike weapon hoping to bring about a one hit coup de grace.
Some people will completely deny this as an impossibility, they will state that groups capable of producing a nuclear device will understand it's implications and only use such a device as a "deterrent". Others will claim that I am being alarmist and armageddonist, and totally dimiss this idea on that basis alone; without addressing the probability of such an attack, they merely will stick their heads in the sand. Still others will claim that such an event will only occur by the hands of the evil Zionists or equally evil Americans, which is simply ridiculous because neither nation needs a nuke to lay waste to their enemies, both groups can defeat almost any comer with conventional means quite easily from a military standpoint.
There is a sect within Islam that sees the use of a nuclear device as a means to bring about the reappearance of the 12th Imam, who will organize the world along Islamic lines and bring about the Koran's version of Biblical Revelations. There are groups, lets call them Islamists for simplicity, but recognize that they are known also as Islamic Fascists, Islamofascists, or elements of Radical Islam, and some of these groups have openly stated their desire to acquire a nuclear device, or a hybridized device (dirty bomb) for the intent of using it upon the United States, Israel or the nations of Western Europe with the stated purpose of destroying these institutions and jumpstarting the Second Caliphate. Other entities may "pop a nuke" as a last gasp of power concentrated in a select group of insane rulers (North Korea). Then there is the unknown, the threat of tomorrow, the threat we don't see at the moment, but nevertheless grows in dark corners of the world, biding it's time, waiting for the geopolictical climate to be right.
If you sit back and think about it, it's basically inevitable that sometime in the future these weapons will be used. The effect will be great and depending on the target, the results will range from destruction and horror quickly passing and settling into rage and revenge, at the other end of the scale, nations could fall within hours or simply cease to effectively exist (Israel could be an example, so could Great Britain or any other country with a small geographic footprint).
The device will most likely be small, in the kiloton range, not a city killer megaton nuke, but a man-portable "tactical" weapon used deep within a society to produce a profound strategic effect. There may be just one, which will be bad enough to deal with, but there most likely will be more than one, near simultaneously, or in a quick succession of a few days.
Some people will have already stopped reading because they can't handle thinking about such a possibility. I suggest that these people are more likely than not, the same people who would suggest that WE need to change in order to stop THEM from attacking us. That WE cannot fight THEM, because WE cannot change THEM, so WE must change and be kindler, gentler, and more accomodating to those who would wish US dead. To me, this seems like total insanity run amuck. It just doesn't make sense. If WE change, THEY will be emboldened. If WE change, THEY win, and their victory does not ensure our safety, in fact it only assures that another group will arise with another agenda to demand that WE change for THEM.
I don't have any answers, I don't have any program to make this all go away. I can only observe that it will happen, someday. Someone WILL use a nuclear device on a unsuspecting population sometime in the relatively near future. The only suggestion I have is for people to realize that there is a war on, it's a World War, and it's not the Global War on Terror I'm referring to, the GWOT is part of it, but it's more a battle or a theatre than it is the whole war. The war I'm referring to has not yet been named, it's not even realized by most that it's taking place, but it is taking place and it's important that people begin to recognize it.
We are at a unique place in the history of mankind. No longer are we disjointed and separate groups of people separated by trade routes and occasional contact. The entire world has become a community against it's own will. Disparate groups with different worldviews have been thrust together via the Information Age and the bridges between nations and people have been physcally bridged by the culmination of the Industrial Age providing mobility and travel options never before seen in human history.
Some call this a culture war, others call it a clash of civilizations, others call it all manner of things. I prefer to use the term, The Long War, because I don't see any resolution to this war coming any time soon, and by my reckoning, this war has been going on since the late 1940's. That means we're already 60 years in and the war isn't even recognized, to expect that The Long War could last for another 100 years is not unrealistic.
So what is this war all about? In short, this war is about the future of the human race, ALL of the human race. That word ALL is very important, it should be thought about at least a little. ALL of the human race. We are at a convergence of human society where every human on the planet, if he or she so chooses, can interact with almost every other human on the planet through travel and electronic communication. A global consciousness is emerging. Humanity as a whole has entered a NEW infancy, this new infant is taking it's first tenative steps and only beginning to explore it's world, and realize it's potential.
While this war rages on, it will take various forms. Just as World War 2 had smaller, seemingly separate "theatres", this war has component parts that can't properly be called theatres, so lets just call them for the purposes of this discussion "a battle" as opposed to "the war". I recognize that I'm using battle incorrectly, but we just don't have the terminology to describe what is happening yet, we are living it right now, and defining it as we go, which makes the realization of what is happening all the more difficult.
The battle that is the GWOT is a battle of religion, religious wars are common throughout history, and this is another in a long line of religious wars. I believe that this will be the last. Islam is the last "unreformed" universalizing religion. It's highly unlikely that another true religion will arise. Cults will rise and become somewhat legitimate, like those cultist who worship "the envrironment", but these are minor players and not capable or desirous of global war like the Catholics did once and the Islamists do now. This religious war, the GWOT, is one we can fight, and we can win, the endpoint will be the reform of Islam and the rise of Islamic moderates to the positions of power within Islam. Once the moderates gain control of their religion, it's unlikely that it will retain it's extremist appeal for very long, the radicals will be marginalized, and eventually they will fade away. While this might seem a condemnation of the GWOT in favor of an internal Islamic solution, it isn't; the GWOT is a necessary battle, because Islam cannot reform without pressure from the outside, just as the Catholic Church would have never reformed were it not for the Princes of Europe demanding and fighting for it in the Wars of the Reformation.
So we will go forward with the GWOT, we must. I say we in a much larger sense than it is now. The WE in the equasion will grow as more people begin to realize what is at stake and what the other side, the Islamists, are aiming for. The second Caliphate will not rise and any attempt to create it, no matter how severe the attack or action, will be resisted, and as the attacks from THEM increase, the WE component will grow. Eventually the WE's will conquer the THEM's and Islam will reform, it won't end the problem of Islamists, but the threat will be effectively mitigated, and when it gains strength, it will be slapped down hard again, just as Nazism is slapped down when it makes it's periodic resurgences. There is no real threat of a Fourth Reich or a disciple of Hitler arising to take over the world, such a threat would immediately be pounced upon and destroyed if it began to seek conquest of others. Such will be the case when Islamism arises again the future after this battle is won.
Yet The Long War won't be over when Islamism is defeated. Other ideologies will arise or existing ones will decide that the time to strike is at hand. It must be remembered, that it is STILL the goal of Communist China to control the world and bring all of humanity under the banner of Communism. That battle lies ahead. It may be another violent clash, with guns and bombs and death, or it may be a relatively peacefull battle fought in boardrooms and with policy speeches and the will of the masses determining the victor. This battle is coming, we just don't know what shape it will take and whether it will be a HOT part of The Long War, or a COLD part.
Down the road we'll have battles we cannot conceive of now, against enemies we do not know, cannot see and do not suspect malice from, but THEY will challenge the WE and the battle will be fought.
Will The Long War ever end. Yes, it will, but the nature of what the world will be like at the end cannot be forseen, it's simply too far off and to many variables are in the way. What we do know is that it will end one day, and there will be a victor. This planet is simply too small for multiple ideologies and worldviews to exist indefinately. Multi-cuturalism will not be the future of the planet, a single global culture will eventually emerge as transportation and information transfer improves.
We are still in a phase of our development where different groups of people are given different sets of information to base their opinions and actions upon. One day this will not be the place. We are only a few short years away from information access being a uniform global process. Just as fiber replaced copper, WiFi will eventually be replaced by SatFi and any human with a simple device will have access to the same information as every other human with a simple, portable and self-contained device, accessing a global network that cannot be interfered with by local or national governments. If you want to look at the US internetsat, you will be able to, if you want to look at the China internetsat, you will be able to, access points in orbit are coming, and keeping a population in the dark will become impossible. When this occurs, it will be the strength of the ideas and goals of groups that will make them powerful and not merely their access to weapons and their local power over a population.
As transportation evolves, it too will give greater access and greater range to the individual. Highways will be replaced by skyways, and mankind's mobility will both act as a dampening effect and inflamatory effect on the violence and scope of The Long War. Combatants will have greater and greater access to their targets, but those targets will be contaminated more and more by unwanted bystanders. How this will play out cannot be forseen, but transportation will both increase the violence of The Long War and decrease it over time as populations continue to merge and high value single targets become more scarce.
The Long War will determine the future of mankind. Will we take to the the stars seeking out new homes, new science and a greater understanding of the universe? Will we stay earthbound, working like ants to serve the desires of a select few in a Communist utopia? Or will we see a new "religion" preventing us from developing our technology in some warped sense of respect for the planet where we see mass starvations and depopulations before a complete technological collapse that sets us back hundreds or thousands of years because we must not damage our environment for the sake of improving the lives of humans?
The Long War will have an end. There will be an eventual one world culture, there will be one world language, it's inevitable. There will be one world system of government, that too is inevitable. There will be a common set of information and it will be universally accessible, that too is inevitable.
That language does not have to be English, I'd sure like it to be, because I feel that it's got the greatest headstart and would be the most efficient direction to take and retain the most knowledge along the way. That system of government does not have to be Democracy, I'd sure like it to be, because Democracy empowers the individual, and does not reduce man to slave. That set of information does not have to be science and truth, it could be a political information set a la Orwell's 1984, or a religous set that teaches only one fantasy worldview, I'd sure like it to be the science and truth set, and I think the reasons are obvious.
So what is the whole point of this. The point is to realize that things are going to get worse before they get better when it comes to the GWOT, the point is to realize that the GWOT is just a battle, or a theatre, in the larger war for humanity, The Long War, which will determine where we, as a species (think about that: WE, as a SPECIES) decide to go with our opposable thumbs and big brains. The point is for people to realize that we are in a War that we have not yet named, a war that we do not yet see it's full scope, a war that will make past wars seem unimportant and a war that will change the very nature and scope of what is considered humanity.
The point is to hopefully spark other discussions about the future, and how it will be shape by the new interconnected small world we now live in as opposed to the old disconnected large world we inhabited just a few short decades ago. Where once we could have oceans and deserts as barriers, we now have everyone thrown together in one big bowl, and we must hash out our differences and come to a realization of what humanity is and what our purpose will be. Are we to be ants? Are we to be worshippers? Are we to be individuals? What will it mean to be human at the end of The Long War? What will we have to endure to get to that end?
This is survival of the fittest, who will it be? Athens or Sparta? (See the PS below for an explanation of that.)
Comments are welcome and will be responded to.
PS, This screed, rant, commentary, post, whatever you want to call it, was sparked by a reading of this fictional piece by Dan Simmons. If anything in this post sparked interest, and even if it did not, I highly suggest you take the time to read the April 2006 Message from Dan. It's interesting, it's thought provoking, it's scary, and it's enlightening, take the time to read it, make the time to read it.
Posted by JasonColeman at October 2, 2006 9:50 AM
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