August 6, 2009

THEY COULD NEVER BEAT THE GATLING GUN, NEVERMIND THE GATT:

Why Al Qaeda Is Losing the War on Terror: Because the Middle East is catching up to — and connecting with — the rest of the world. And no matter how much peace Osama bin Laden's No. 2 tries to offer Barack Obama, there is no stopping globalization's power over extremism. (Thomas P.M. Barnett, 8/06/09, Esquire)

[T]he penetrating embrace of globalization is doing the truly profound damage to Al Qaeda, and we are globalization's bodyguard. The flow of proliferating networks that offer ideas and conversations and products and expressions of individualistic ambition — especially with regard to women — offer radical Islamic groups no hope of gaining permanent political control.

As if al-Zawahiri's smoke-blowing video — as close to an admission of strategic failure as we're likely to get out of Al Qaeda for the foreseeable future — wasn't enough, poll after poll confirms the trend: Al Qaeda's appeal — along with violent extremism in general — is waning across the Islamic world while America's has been significantly improved by Barack Obama's election and subsequent efforts at civilizational dialogue (which clearly has Al Qaeda's leadership worried, as evidenced by the amount of time al-Zawahiri spent in this last video attempting to diminish it). As Thomas Friedman pointed out recently, radical Islam's only successes as of late have involved stoking sectarian and ethnic feuds — hardly the calling card of a successful international ideological movement. [...]

In America's persistent struggle against violent extremism triggered by globalization's advance, there will always be the temptation to return to history's sidelines, much like we did after World War I. But our now decades-long success in creating and defending and expanding an international liberal trade order (now known as globalization) has created this larger, unpalatable reality: The United States is no longer in control of this process and thus cannot "turn off" its resulting challenges.

Posted by Orrin Judd at August 6, 2009 2:07 PM
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