Friday, January 23, 2015

Watching History Repeat

To anybody who studies history, even as a hobby, it should be obvious by now that World War Three will not be fought between the US and Russia. Despite Putin's blustering -- most recently, sending his spy-ship to Havana harbor during the opening meeting between US envoys and Cuba (which earned the ship the nickname of "RS Showoffsky") -- it's clear that the glory days of the USSR are over, Russia is mired in the economic mess which the old regime brought on and can't afford anything like a major war.

No, World War Three will be fought between the Jihadis and everybody else.

Nobody else is so willing to ignore economics, politics, science, or anything else in their passionate bid to conquer the world.  Nobody else is so eager to believe their own propaganda, let alone try to sell it to the rest of the world.  Nobody else since... well, the late 1930s, which they seem determined to repeat.  For more similarities, go up on the Internet and search for Jihadist cartoons, films and TV shows which specifically attack Jews (followed by Christians, Hindus and Buddhists), not just Israel.  You'll find some incredibly offensive stuff, often copied directly from old Nazi examples.  Jihadis have been churning out this stuff since the end of WWII, and continue to, even as they howl outrage and death threats against a handful of cartoonists who pen much milder insults against Muslims, and they see no hypocrisy in it.  Besides fitting neatly any definition of fascism, the Jihadis copy faithfully the progress of the Nazis -- save only that they base their passion on religion instead of race.

Even more sobering is the Jihadis' faithful copying -- updated with modern tools -- the Nazis' strategies and tactics.  There's the infiltration of all available countries with a Third Column of immigrants/settlers who go recruiting among the natives, the artful suborning of native news media into pushing the Big Lie ("The Jews stole our land!"  "The West stole our oil!"), the preparatory -- or premature -- attacks intended to scare governments into submission, and finally the all-out takeovers of small neighboring countries. 

One can even see a parallel to the late '30s in the democratic countries' slow and unwilling awakening to their own danger.  Then, as now, the western press and politicians insisted that the "extremists" were only a small number, really not that dangerous, and everybody must be very-very careful not to insult or offend the "peaceful" majority.  Then, as now, the calculating fascists played on that tendency with claims that they'd been insulted, and the offenders must pay.

The major strategic difference between Nazis then and Jihadis now is the lack of a charismatic unifying leader.  The Jihadis have no Hitler, though plenty of ambitious sheiks and mullahs have vied for the job.  The secondary difference is that, being scattered over several countries rather than bound with nationalistic pride to any one, the Jihadis also fracture and factionalize into several sub-groups, which often compete with each other -- like Al-Qaeda competing with ISIL.  The third difference is their passionate impatience, which makes them underestimate their enemies and strike too soon.  The first attack on the World Trade Center, more than 20 years ago, was meant to economically cripple the US but can more accurately be compared to the Beer Hall Putsch.  The second, on 9/11 -- along with the other two hijackings and crashes -- was likewise meant to ruin the US's military and economy, but came off more like Pearl Harbor (except that the US did not follow through with the focus and energy our government had the first time around).  Also, the serious attacks began before the current Depression really started, and the 2008 Depression wasn't nearly as severe as the first one.  This means that, despite their intense recruiting among the poor -- particularly Black -- the Jihadis don't really have as big a Third Column as they claim or believe. (Likewise, as recent police raids around Europe have shown, thanks to modern police techniques, the various western governments do know who and where the Jihadis are.)

Despite the differences, particularly in timing, the similarities are striking.  History is indeed repeating itself, and only by understanding that can we forestall World War III -- or at least keep it from being as bad as either of the first two.

--Leslie <;)))><  

 

       

2 comments:

Ori Pomerantz said...

There are some similarities, but there are also some deep differences. The chief one is that mid-20th century Germans aren't early 21st century Arabs. Tom Kratman, who knows enough to have an opinion, believes that the second have a culture that makes them very poor soldiers (http://www.everyjoe.com/2014/09/01/politics/why-arab-armies-bad-worthless/). Turks are different (http://www.everyjoe.com/2014/08/25/politics/israeli-problems-more-than-iran-nuclear-weapons/), but they're less likely to be recruited.

It is a war, but a very different one than WWII. Few standup battles, and a lot more raids.

Leslie Fish said...

Thank all the gods in agreement for that! ...It also explains why the Jihadis have been trying hard to recruit and suborn in Turkey. They haven't had much luck; after 90+ years of living in a modern industrial democracy, the Turks aren't terribly tempted by the Jihadi culture.

So far, the only standup battles the Jihadis have won were attacks on unarmed towns with leftover NATO weapons. I find it interesting that we haven't seen much of the US troops' encounters with ISIL; we've only heard poorly confirmed reports that the US troops have killed 6000 ISIL Jihadis. How curious that the media are nowhere to be seen. It's clear that the western nations could crush the Jihadis if they would only concentrate on doing it.