We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
Excerpts from The Impending Collapse of Arab Civilization
I'd like to post the entirety of Col. Lacey's enormously provocative piece, but I don't think I can. The piece is by Lieutenant Colonel James G. Lacey, U.S. Army Reserve, pulbished in the Proceedings of the US Naval Institute, Sept., 2005. His basic thesis is that Islamism is the symptom, but the disease is a civilization at death's door, which counters Bernard Lewis' widely accepted thesis about jihad. At the end of his piece, he offers some solutions, especially an old-fashioned one - "containment." Generous excerpts from this important piece, which deserves to make the rounds, follow (link is at end of continuation page):
"A more accurate understanding of events leads to the conclusion that Arab, not Muslim, civilization is in a state of collapse, and it just happens that most Arabs are Muslims. In this regard, the fall of the Western Roman Empire was a collapse of Western Europe and not a crisis of Christianity. The next question is, how could the world have missed an entire civilization collapsing before its eyes? The simple answer is that no one alive today has ever seen it happen before. Well within living memory we have seen empires collapse and nation-state failure has become a regular occurrence, but no one in the West has witnessed the collapse of a civilization since the Dark Ages. Civilizational collapses take a long time to unfold and are easy to miss in the welter of daily events.
Interestingly, on the Arab League's website there is a paper that details all of the contributions made by Arab civilization. It is a long and impressive list, which unfortunately marks 1406 as the last year a significant contribution was made. That makes next year the 600th anniversary of the beginning of a prolonged stagnation, which began a dive into the abyss with the end of the Ottoman Empire. Final collapse has been staved off only by the cash coming in from a sea of oil and because of a few bright spots of modernity that have resisted the general failure.
Statistics tell an ugly story about the state of Arab civilization. According to the U.N.'s Arab Human Development Report:
There are 18 computers per 1000 citizens compared to a global average of 78.3.
Only 1.6% of the population has Internet access.
Less than one book a year is translated into Arabic per million people, compared to over 1000 per million for developed countries.
Arabs publish only 1.1% of books globally, despite making up over 5% of global population, with religious books dominating the market.
Average R&D expenditures on a per capita basis is one-sixth of Cuba's and less than one-fifteenth of Japan's.
The Arab world is embarking upon the new century burdened by 60 million illiterate adults (the majority are women) and a declining education system, which is failing to properly prepare regional youth for the challenges of a globalized economy. Educational quality is also being eroded by the growing pervasiveness of religion at all levels of the system. In Saudi Arabia over a quarter of all university degrees are in Islamic studies. In many other nations primary education is accomplished through Saudi-financed madrassas, which have filled the void left by government's abdication of its duty to educate the young.
In economic terms we have already commented that the combined weight of the Arab states is less than that of Spain. Strip oil out of Mideast exports and the entire region exports less than Finland. According to the transnational Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), regional economic growth is burdened by declining rates of investment in fixed capital structure, an inability to attract substantial foreign direct investment, and declining productivity — the economic trinity of disaster.
Economic stagnation coupled with rapid population growth is reducing living standards throughout the region, both comparatively and in real terms. In the heady days of the late 1970s oil boom, annual per-capita GDP growth of over 5% fueled high levels of expectations. GDP per-capita grew from $1,845 to $2,300. Today, after adjusting for inflation, it stands at $1,500, reflecting an overall decline in living standards over 30 years. Only sub-Saharan Africa has done worse. If oil wealth is subtracted from the calculations the economic picture for the mass of Arab citizens becomes dire.
Things are indeed bad in the Arab world and will get much worse.
This statement should not be read as mere opinion.
While predictions of the future are usually fraught with peril, those based on demographics are, barring some unforeseen plague or truly catastrophic war, uncannily accurate. Using even the most optimistic assumption—that fertility rates drop by fifty percent in a generation—the respected Population Resource Center, based in Princeton, New Jersey, expects Arab populations to grow from 280 million to almost 460 million by 2020 and to over 600 million a generation later. On the face of it the Arab world is staring political and economic disaster in the face. Arab governments and institutions are already failing to meet basic human needs in many Arab countries. It is hard to imagine how they will cope with the stress of such a massive population increase.
The percentage of the population under age 15 is double that of Western Europe and those under age 24 make up 50% to 65% of Middle East countries—an astonishingly young population. This youth bulge is already beginning to rock the foundations of Islamic society. Upheaval and revolution are the likely results of a massive number of youth confronted by stagnating or collapsing economies as they enter adulthood.
A youth bulge has always correlated strongly with increased levels of violence within a society, from terrorism to war. None of the above policy prescriptions will be easy, nor can they be achieved overnight. Most of them require the support of other nations, which may be problematic. Many of these nations have not recognized the risks they face from Arab collapse and see no reason to take preemptive measures. It is easy to say that we need to work closely with Europe to secure its southern border. In reality, that task will be devilishly hard, not least because the Europeans appear very reluctant to take any measures to protect themselves that might give even a whiff of intolerance."
Read the whole thing here - you have to sign in as a guest.
The article is very interesting, but I believe that Col. Lacey may be smoking large quantities of illegal substances.
I almost wonder if Lacey may not be a pseudonym for Kerry.
The writer's basic argument is that there is no war on terror; it's a fiction of right-wing nuts. All we need do is cooperate with the fabled "community of nations" and apply the standard, materialistic, and above all secular, remedies prescribed by socialism. Share our wealth to perfect humanity.
Take two of Col. lacey's proposed measures: rearm Russia and bring it into the containment network, and use China to the same purpose. These are extraordinarily naive and dangerous proposals, as both nations have fundamental national interests opposed to ours. Assuming that through some undisclosed methodology (the UN Food for Oil Program, perhaps?) we will be able to enlist their reliable cooperation is a considerable stretch.