Monday, December 15, 2008
There's a pretty interesting article by Spengler at Asia Times Online on the very apparent lack of viability of Muslim states within the context of the Global Economic (not just "financial", whatever some say) Crisis (not just "recession" certainly).
While I don't know how accurate this guy may be in his catastrophic forecasts, his reasoning makes some sense certainly. He argues that countries like Pakistan, Iran, Indonesia and even Saudi Arabia area already economically unviable and in the brink of disaster. The case of Pakistan, with its huge mostly illiterate population and nuclear weapons, is certainly the most worrying maybe but the case is that all these countries have a very bad prognosis, with bankrupt or nearly bankrupt governments totally dependant on subsidies to the vast poor masses for mere survival, subsidies that they cannot afford anymore as The Crisis grips the global economy and makes everybody to keep a close watch of their ficnances, including international lenders and donors.
Spengler argues that many more "Somalias" are to be expected soon in the future all through the Muslim World and that Pakistan is very likely to be one of them. This concern is also reflected in other articles in the same magazine, for example, Seeram Chaulia (I'd think he's an Indian, right?) argues that Pakistan is the only state in the world that negotiates with a un on its own head and he calls for an international mandate (something that sounds like an impossible endeavour, specially considering the situation in nearby Afghanistan and Iraq, much less populated and with no nuclear arsenal, as well as the failure of Ethiopian "mandate" in Somalia - not to mention the most dubious ethics of such "international police" projects).
Certainly I don't think that such colonialist intrvetions are possible anymore, certainly not at such huge scale as would be needed in Pakistan and certainly not in a time when the masses are largely politicied and are the enemy any potential invader must fear the most. Guerrilla warfare has long demonstrated that military intervention is often just not viable and, when it is, it becomes incredibly costly. The successes of the tiny ill-equipped colonial expeditions of Cortes, Pizarro, Judar Pasha or, more modernly, the less known conquerors of India and Africa... are not anymore replicable. This kind of military invasions are something of the past and are generally bound to fail nowadays. Even Napoleon had to admit that his worst error was invading Spain, where he just got a costly and impossible to win guerrilla warfare (that's the origin of the word guerilla, by the way, Spanish term meaning "small war"). Today all or nearly all the world, and very specially the strongly ideologized Muslim countries, has extremely high possibilities of becoming another "Spain" (or Vietnam or Afghanistan...) for those who dare to intervene in them. Not any realistic solution at all.
Back to Spengler's article, he also claims to have reliable sources that suggest that the recent attack to Mumbai's center was not any suicidal action but actually a larger operation by at least 30 people with relatively high expectations of survial. Naturally he mentions that such kind of military activity are much more likely to draw better combatants than the merely desperate (and probably scarce) suicidal volunteers. He claims that the Indian authorities are hiding information on the assault precisely because some 20 attackers apparently managed to escape the police and military siege, a shame they just cannot assume publically.
He also ponders my favorite question in such situations "cui bono?" (I thought it was spelled "qui bono" but seems I was wrong): to whom does this benefit? But provides no clear answer.