Saturday, March 5, 2016
Instability, over-population, limited resources, massive population mobility, dwindling resources, staggering disruption from climate change and a proliferation of weapons of every description… a horrific combination. Experience over eras has also shown that incumbent mega-powers often grow unwilling to continue the effort and investment that made them great, relying instead on an outsourcing to their own military to keep the status quo. This begins a slow decay of the central powerbase, as elites ensure that as the erosion continues, they maximize what they can generate and retain, no matter the consequences for the rest. Soon, they can no longer afford to fund the military. These appear to be the immutable lessons we call “history.”
Romans falling to Visigoths, the Chinese Southern Soong Dynasty crushed by the Mongol hordes, the “let them eat cake” elites dying at the hands of ordinary French citizens, the Russian monarchy succumbing to Bolshevik revolution, etc., etc. Today, after a surge of post-World War II togetherism – from the United Nations to the consolidation of the European Union – we are witnessing what just be nature’s response to the Malthusian population explosion. Individual cultures – seeing their way of life threatened – are pulling inwards, eschewing the togetherism. Without man’s having senior predators, nature seems to have called on us to find reasons to kill each other.
In the face of massive migration from peoples facing starvation from climate-change-droughts, as well as conflicts and military efforts, that have effectively crushed hope, the notion of a safe future and economic stability, we see an increasingly hostile reaction from those nations to which such displaced peoples are seeking a new beginning. 470,000 people have died in the Syrian conflict. The repressive Assad minority government (the 10% of the population there that are Shiites), with massive aid from Iran and Russia, has decimated its own peoples. What they have missed, ISIS has not, conquering territory and employing brutal genocide to homogenize their holdings.
The recently-brokered ceasefire in Syria is not holding. Assad’s forces are continuing their assault against rebels, trapping even more hapless innocents in massive starvation pits. Rebels have even begun to turn their weapons on themselves, faction against faction. But most certainly, the rebels are hardly sitting passively as Assad moves to annihilate them.
The massive migration of escaping refugees pressed into neighboring Europe. Germany, still stinging from its genocidal reputation from WWII, initially opened its arms wide to prove they “aren’t like that anymore.” As ill-prepared European powers felt the flood of escaping humanity, the notion of opening, free movement within the EU, and the construct of modern values designed to confront cruelty, simply fell apart.
East European nations rapidly built border reinforcements. Denmark implemented a policy of confiscating possession valued at more than $1600 from any refugee entering that country. Article 45 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union allows for the free movement of workers within a single European market. Open borders is known as the Schengen Principle, at the core of EU values. “The Schengen Agreement implements the abolition of border controls between most member states, common rules on visas, and police and judicial cooperation.” Wikipedia.
As state after state found a growing need to control the flow of Muslim migrants seeking asylum, the Schengen Principle seemed to be gasping for breath. As David Cameron negotiated “compromises” from the EU in order to maximize popular support from Britain to stay in the EU under an upcoming vote, the notion separateness was at the core. The border and free passage, when new settlers might qualify for social benefits, were sacrificial lambs. Undoubtedly, other EU nations are likely to embrace a new, looser EU, where individual nations and individual borders will be restored.
In the United States, white rural traditional Protestantism has become the cornerstone of virtually every Republican candidate’s platform in the upcoming presidential election. Us vs. them. Build a wall. Exclude Muslims (who are, by the way, far and away the greatest victims of their extremist brethren). Tighten voting laws to make it increasing difficult for those not in the white “mainstream” to vote. Don’t worry about police forces – which represent white traditionalism – if they enforce the law harshly in minority communities (where most of the violent criminals live, right?). Allow even more people to carry weapons and allow such weapons to approach military grade. Gerrymander so if those minorities manage to vote, they won’t change anything. Support the elite with low taxes and deregulation… and call it supporting the job creators even as economic polarization continues to get worse.
Nationalism is rising in Asia and South America, much of it directed at a failing powerbase in the West, particularly the United States. As we circle the wagons in defense of our traditionalism, we show our inherent weakness. As they build infrastructure while ours crumbles from disrepair, as our nation debt skyrockets just as we cut investment in ourselves and our future (research, education and infrastructure), they smile smugly as our self-inflicted demise… our obvious insecurity in this clash of civilizations. But this just might be as nature requires. We are about “me first,” even if that philosophy will ultimately unravel the very nation that gave us the quality of life we have enjoyed for so long. Isolationism is the result. But it’s too late. We are indeed globalized; we will just lose more and more, power, authority, credibility and economic well-being.
I’m Peter Dekom, and the lack of an historical perspective of what we are doing to ourselves allows the very demagoguery that will tear us apart and end our view of how we really should be.