Saturday, March 08, 2003
America and the World in the 21st Century
posted by Joel at 9:05 AM
The Paradigm has shifted. Used to be the world was fairly stable, like a city run by a number of Crime Bosses, everything was accounted for. Each boss had his sphere of influence and they kept it stable. Sometimes the spheres would bump into each other or one boss would try to expand his sphere at the expense of another and there would be war, but it was all very ordered and the bosses could have a meeting or summit and hash out the incidents, there was a finite number of central authorities running the show, you knew who to talk to in order to resolve the conflicts and everyone had more to lose than what they might gain in continuous battles for small gains. If there were incidents of random violence, you could just let the boss's know and they would handle it.
The world fought 2 world wars and numerous smaller wars and non-wars to reach that paradigm. And while it wasnt a great paradigm, it was one we were familiar with. Now in post 9-11 America, there is a sense of starting over, We are the dominant "Crime Boss" in the "big city" while smaller crime bosses, vying for our power, linger in the suburbs, probing our sphere of influence, seeking to take a bite out of it. And worse, there are free lance psychos, rogues, mavericks, ronin... all acting in accordance with thier own desires to take revenge or inflict damage on us for as many reasons as there are of them, and we have no boss to call to get them to stop, we have to send our boys out into the suburbs and deal with them on a one by one basis, on thier turf. And even though our boys are good at what they do, they are going to take some casualties.
Osama Bin Laden and his cronies have created an organization which could effectively damage a large soveriegn nation, while they might not be able to invade and conquer a nation, they can pin prick us until we are paralyzed and collapse of our own weight into anarchy, ripe to be plucked by a stablizing influence. Osama Bin Laden and Al Queda made the U.N. obsolete. What use is an institution which was created to allow leaders to resolve conflicts, if the main protagonist of conflict is not present in the institution? And if this protagonist is working with certain members of the institution, allowing those members to put forth one stance in the institution, while utilizing this protagonist to promote a very different stance outside the institution, then the institution's relevance is extremely suspect.