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Is globalism’s price Islamic terror?
Posted by: mcq on Thursday, August 24, 2006

From a speech given by Iranian President Ahmadinejad on August 15, 2006 on Iranian News Channel:
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad: When they talk about a "New Middle East," they mean a Middle East that is held captive by America, England, and the Zionist regime. When they talk about a "New Middle East," they do not mean progress, development, independence, or freedom for the countries [of the region].

They oppose independence, freedom, and progress. Look at Iraq, Palestine,Lebanon, and other places. I say to them: The peoples of the region have awakened. It so happens that our peoples are also calling for a New Middle East. The Middle East that our peoples want is a free Middle East, which is not under the control of America and England.


If you want to have good relations with the Iranian people in the future, you should acknowledge the right and the might of the Iranian people, and you should bow and surrender to the might of the Iranian people. If you do
not accept this, the Iranian people will force you to bow and surrender.
We all have come to understand that the real power in Iran lies with the mullahs and that Amadinejad's relationship with them is strained, or so conventional wisdom goes.

Of course, when you're on the eve of supposedly signalling you're ready for "serious negotiations", words such is this are hardly useful in setting the tone for those negotiations.

More importantly, his words seem to reinforce something I've been mulling as a result of reading Thomas P.M. Barnett's book "The Pentagon's New Map". Barnett, who btw, is an excellent writer able to put his ideas and concepts together clearly and well, is of the opinion that all of this is really about globalization. And he supports his case well. In fact, he points out that this is actually the worlds third attempt at globalization, or more accurately stated, globalization started in 1870 and continues. The first wave of globalization ran from 1870 to 1914. The second wave from 1945 to 1980 and the third began in 1980 and is continuing.

The breaks came as the rule sets changed and the world attempted to adjust and synchonize their internal rule sets with the external rule sets brought on by globalization. In some cases this meant war. It's obviously much more complex than the short blurb I'm giving it here, but essentially the message is we're seeing resistance from those that are "disconnected" from this third wave of globalization.

The disconnectedness may be a result of many things, but in the case of some it is purposeful. As Barnett points out, "Globalization is a condition defined by mutually assured dependence". It is a process of reshaping an economy and a society to bring it into the mainstream rule sets by which those who already function within the mainstream of globalization comply. And in fact, the changes are so profound and so far reaching they threaten certain types of societies. Again, Barnett:
"That is why globaliztion's progressive advance will trigger more nationalism around the world, not less. This may seem counterintuitive, but as nations join the Core [nations functioning within the scope of globalization], expect their societies (especially their youth) to demand preservation of cultural identity. This is only natural and right but we need to understand such nationalism for what it truly represents: not anti-Americanism per se, but fear of losing identity. Globalization empowers the individual at the expense of the collective, and that very American transformation of culture is quite scary for traditional societies."
What globalization brings with its connectivity is a "content flow" which many societies see as a threat to their existence and well being. It brings ideas, products, services, mass media and other things which the society may see as direct threat to its cultural foundations.

And it is this I think we're seeing in a lot of cases. For instance, Dale points to the case in Germany, where Germans are shocked they're a target. As Barnett points out youth are particularly suseptible to appeals to cultural identity and it is becoming an old story about how good, supposedly acculturated Muslim youth suddenly become "devout" and radicalized.

Another point to be made about Barnett's explanation rests with the result of globalization - empowerment of the individual and freedom to act. That is a direct threat to authoritarian regimes and cultures. They obviously prefer "upstream controls" over content flow which means, of course, censorship and denial of access. These are not governments, societies or cultures which are necessarily enamored with empowering individuals, so they resist it and they resist it fiercely. Globalization means connecting. And connecting means content flow. And content flow means change, usually away from the traditional.

There obviously is much more to this than the tiny bit I've thrown out here, but I'm on the road and I've got to get going. I want to get much more deeply into this topic and Barnett's theory at a later date. But consider this food for thought.
"While your culture will be added to globalizations ever-evolving mosaic, your society will - in return - be challenged to adapt to an amazing array of content flows (e.g., ideas about the role of women, free speech, "proper" education, etc.) that come with globalization's connectivity. ... Most important, while your influence regarding global rule sets will be small, globaliztion's influence regarding your internal rule sets will be enormous. In fact, your importation and adoption of these global rule sets will be the main price you pay for leaving your disconnectedness behind."
Doesn't the resistance to that description of the price of globalization and connectedness pretty much mirror the words we hear from mullahs, imams, terrorists and, in the above case, the president of Iran?
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Previous Comments to this Post 

Well I’m with the Iranians... I don’t know what "Golbalism" is but it sounds REAL bad... Could that be the worship of George Golbal, the old comedian? If SO, I am REALLY down with Iran, he wasn’t that funny, EVEN the French don’t like his work.
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
"Gobalism"? Does that have anything to do with deceased actor George Gobal? Or wasn’t his name Gobel?

My God!
Written By: Alexander Alt
URL: http://
I believe that globalization is our best hope for a peaceful world. The more the world’s societies become interconnected, the more reliant they become on one another. The more reliant they become on one another, the less likely that one nation will wage war on another.

Those who erect walls around their societies, and insist on maintaining the purity of their cultural identity at the price of diminishing the quality of life of their citizenry, are the real threats to world peace.

That’s one reason why I have always been puzzled by the peace movement’s active sponsorship of and participation in the anti-globalization demonstrations whenever there’s an IMF meeting or a meeting of the G7. One would think that they would understand that they are acting exactly counter to their interests....

I am not puzzled, however, by the resistance of Iran’s mullahs. An open society would make their ability to control their population almost impossible....and probably foster the kind of bloodshed that would result in a real revolution. But, as usual, money talks....and, despite their opposition to allowing foreign ideas into their country, the Iranian mullahs have no problem exporting their oil to raise the foreign exchange they need to pursue their strategic objective — the assertion of Iranian power throughout the region!
Written By: RAZ
URL: http://
Best way to study the book is to watch the briefs witch the Book is based on. Barnett is excellent speaker.

If would start with the brief given at sandia. It covers the first book and is approx. one and half in lenth.

Those with short attention span the poptech brief is only 30 minute long and the video of it is on youtube in 3 ten minutes segments..

The briefs that cover his next book Blueprint For Action watch catch the brief given at NDU on c-span. It cover his new material such as BFA, Development in a Box concept, and his work for Enterra solutions. The Johns Hopkins University brief is close but doesn’t cover his newest material.

For the truly dedicated you can buy for c-span the 3hr brief that got it all started and lead to the book.

Written By: Kenneth
URL: http://
I have reservations about Barnett’s model, specifically, I wish there were a little more quantification and I have doubts about his notion of “connectedness”—I think the Gap has lots of connectedness, just not connectedness to us. Others have criticized his work as colonialism under another name.

That having been said I think we should remember that globalization is a means not an end and that if terrorism makes the costs of globalization rise high enough then globalization won’t survive.
Written By: Dave Schuler
rests with the result of golbalization - empowerment of the individual and freedom to act.
Globalisation is about maximising profit. It cares no more for individual rights or freedom than it does for custom or worship. If for instance a fascist dictatorship in China is able to encourage a boom in its private sector and general economy that is sustainable it will eventually surpass the Western liberal states. If this occurs it will be necessary for the West to make an assessment as to whether individual rights and freedom are more or less important than the economic strength globalisation favors.
globalization is our best hope for a peaceful world.
Maybe. The economic growth fostered by globalisation allows the participants to improve their weapon systems in terms of complexity and firepower. More people with more to lose, pointing more doomsday devices at each other possibly will encourage a greater degree of peace or possibly kill everybody.
Written By: unaha-closp
The integrative and cohesive powers of globalism are far from new. From the Athenian Naval empire controlling the Mediterranean to the Royal British Navy’s commerce around the world, and some odd ones in the middle like the Mongols supervision of the Silk Route, there have been many of these ’globalization epics’ throughout history. But they didn’t happen easily, not at all. The Athenians had to defeat the dominant Persians, the British fought the Spanish Armada, the Mongols- who didn’t they fight? Only then was there peace. I wrote a paper in college about globalism and these empires. I think my conclusion was that an empire is required to sustain the infrastructure of a global economy, both financially and militarily. From that one can infer that if the current system is to continue, it will require a superpower to maintain it.

Not a fan of theorists like Barnett with their ’revolutionary’ ideas, but he has some interesting insights, such as terrorism being one of the prices of our current global economic expansion. Just like the Roman Roads gave Rome the ability to move quickly, they also aided their enemies. If they were able to make it into the borders of the empire, they would be devastating- such as Hannibals invasion clearly illustrates. Most didn’t, because the Romans knew this and were able to keep them out. We have yet to find a balance with modern terrorism. If we want to continue to utilize the benefits of globalization, such as airplanes and other means of high technology, we will have to find a similar outlook to the Romans. You may conclude I don’t mean more X-rays at airports.
Written By: Sunguh
Barnett’s analysis of the impact and psycho-drivers of globalism is strong. His recommendations in response are the same Wilsonian, one-worldism we’ve been listening to for a century. And they are based in the creation of an ’international executive’. In his most recent brief, aired on PBS this week, he identified that ’executive’ as the G-20...or perhaps the G-8. THEY would decide if we, the USA, had the right to fight. And in TPCB’s words as nearly as I can recall them, "If you can’t make your case to the 20 countries with all the money, you haven’t got a case."’s not 155 nations that stand in oppostion to’s exactly the 20 you want to take control of the whole "SysOps" engine!

So his solution is that the USA is to abdicate sovereignty...just like John Kerry suggested. Let’s see. That would make the USA the equivalent of the Gotham City Police Force...and the Mayor’s Office would be in Brussels...and the City Council would meet monthly in Beijing. Oh yes, and TPCB would be Batman.

A+ on analysis. F on solution.
Written By: CatoTheEldest
URL: http://
For those countries that lag so far behind the West as do those in the Middle East I would say one thing in favor of Globalization: You wear the glove, it doesn’t wear you. It is entirely possible for a country to subscribe to most aspects of Globalism and still keep their cultural grounds. And if the world dissagrees with a policy they hold, for instance not letting women vote, the world will find a way to rationalize continual trade with said country if the benefits outweight the costs.

To Uhana-closp, your statement, "Globalisation is about maximising profit. It cares no more for individual rights or freedom than it does for custom or worship." is about half wrong. Yes, it is about maximum profit, however given your example you obviously fail to define "profit" the same way most good Globalism backing economists do. I would point you to Walter Williams and how he explains determining maximum proffit (and this will hopefully explain WHY your Chinese example is incomplete at best):

The whole article is good, however the last part is relevant here:

"Rank nations according to whether they are closer to the capitalism end or the communism end of the economic spectrum. Then rank nations according to human rights protections. Finally, rank nations according to per capita income. Without question, citizens of those nations closer to capitalism enjoy a higher standard of living and a far greater measure of liberty than those in nations closer to communism."

For most Globalists maximum profit=maximum standard of living. Your definition that maximum profit is only maximum $ amount is wanting.

Also, Barnett is not on the whole a revolutionist. He does, however, prescribe to ideas that have been put forth for centuries. I would consider him a "tweaker of ideas".

(one day I will learn how to properly quote comments, and how to properly place links!!!)
Written By: Ike
URL: http://
What globalization brings with its connectivity is a "content flow" which many societies see as a threat to their existence and well being. It brings ideas, products, services, mass media and other things which the society may see as direct threat to its cultural foundations.
Interesting. Been thinking about this one most of the afternoon.

there are those who like RAZ see GLobalism as earth’s only hope. But I wonder if RAZ has fully considered the amount of warfare we’ need to go through to bring such globalism about?

I respectfully suggest that globalism in its ideal sense, can only work when the whole of the world is monocultural, or, at least, with a very large cultural center from which to work. Anything short of that situation is going to create friction from a cultural perspective. Which brings me to an extension;

There are those who wonder openly if multiculturalism isn’t a direct threat to the cultural foundation of these United States. I’m one of them. But certainly there are far more culturally conservative people within other cultures then we have here in the U.S.. Certainly, more violent. More reactionary. And I wonder; did we so seriously underestimate the amount of resistance that we would get from these cultures to the kind of influence McQ is speaking of here?

There is also something else: I wonder if we have forgotten that, like the Roman roads that Sunguh mentions, globalism and multiculturalism are in fact two way streets... That as much as we influence other cultures, possibly to their detriment, they also have an opportunity to influence ours, to our detriment.

If the assumptions I see as inherent in McQ’s question are accurate, then it is logical to suggest that what we’re seeing here from the Muslim world is a combination of the two points I’ve raised; in underestimation of the reaction that we get from that part of the world and those cultures, and their response to what they see as a weakness in our culture that can be utilized to expand their own.

Gordon Nickle in Canada’s National Post, Last June, noted this upon the occasion of a terror plot in Canada, not unlike the one in Germany, was thawrted:

The problem of Muslim radicalization has been on the agenda of all nations since 9/11. But Canada faces a unique dilemma because the doctrine of multiculturalism is seen as intrinsic to our national identity.
Of course, the fact is, that it’s not overly unique.
Indeed the real reason that radical Islamist become so strong was because far from being unique this misbegotten attitude about globalization and multiculturalism is status quo for most of the west. Witness the effects in the Scandinavian countries France to a lesser degree England and the United States as well.

Says Nickle, in part, in that article:
Unfortunately, the Islamic principle of abrogation runs in the opposite chronological direction in relation to violence. Because the commands to fight and kill in the Koran are considered by Muslims to be among the recitations made very late in the life of the prophet of Islam — at a time when his conquest of Arabia was almost complete — Muslims scholars have been inclined to read the peaceful texts as subordinate to the later ones. In other words, Muslims seeking to find a peaceful message in the Koran must fight not only the plain meaning of the Koran’s text and the current fashion for militancy, but also the arrow of Muslim history. Interpreting the words of Muslim scripture so that they pose no threat to peaceful coexistence with non-believers thus seems a large challenge. In view of the high stakes in the world today, however, it is certainly a challenge worth taking up. Otherwise, Canadian proponents of multiculturalism will have a harder time arguing that tradition.
This is an amazing passage. He’s just argued that making these two situations mesh, is totally impossible... as a matter of fact it’s one of the best arguments to the point that I’ve seen. And yet, he’s still making hopeful noises... apparently for fear of his article being regulated as "hate speech". Isn’t it amazing the depths that multiculturalism has driven Canada to?

As I’ve pointed out, Canada is the coal mine canary in this hemisphere. They are choking to death. Then again if you’d care to look to other hemispheres so is France and Scandinavia.

And I bring up this long issue of multiculturalism within this context for this reason; what is globalism, but multiculturalism on an international basis ? Or, if you will, multiculturalism writ large? It is demonstrably not working on a smaller scale... and I think Nickle makes a fairly decent case of that.

What in the world makes us think it’s going to work, larger scale? I believe it was Robert Frost who told us that good fences make good neighbors. I wonder; he doubtless was speaking to a smaller scale... But is that point of his being demonstrated on a global scale, today?


As I post this, another parallel has occurred to me; Communism. The Soviet Union, as an example.

Say what you will about the causes of the failure of the Soviet Union, I am likely to agree with the majority of it. But I would suggest no analysis of the failure of the Soviet union could possibly be complete without the cultural perspective. The communists in Moscow decided that they were going to take over and over write all of the cultures in their territories by means of law. So two, the Chinese. (Can you say Mao’s cultural revolution? ) China, for a number of reasons has been more successful in this than Russia ever was. Not least among these is the financially look rid of trading deals that we in the west of been feeding them. Be that as it may I suggest to you that both are exercises in multiculturalism and globalism in their own way. Obviously, they have met with very degrees of success. Success, that often as not, required violence to enforce.

I openly admit, in this postscript, I have not thoroughly thought the matter of comparing communism to our current situation through. But there’s enough of a pattern there to make an interesting comparison for me.

Written By: Bithead
Given what Nickle has said: do we then apply Globalism selectively, possibly leaving out lagging countries that are deemed impossible based on a certain aspect (here it might be Midde East religious beliefs")? More importantly, who decides this? And is the alternative greater than what we have now, or greater than the costs to obtain?
Written By: Ike
URL: http://
I don’t have a bunch of answers on that one, but I would suggest we’ve already been doing this on a somewhat smaller scale since Wilson, and TR, through such actions as financial gifts to other countries, loans, the world bank, an the UN, down to simple trade agreements between countires, countries we ahve selected... with some varied success, at least from our own perspective.

Written By: Bithead
Ike, China is not run as a communist state anymore. It is a capitalist economy with property rights - the rights to make money. Take communism out of the Walter Williams piece and all that is left is an apparent correlation between human liberty and wealth, is the correlation truthful? May a capitalist one party China that focuses entirely on economic growth without social reform, and its associated social spending, end up with a richer economy than corrosponding capitalist multiparty states? If this does happen globalisation will require the USA to change its model to become successful or accept Chinese economic domination or use military force to subdue China. Under globalisation a $billion from Shanghai is worth the same as $billion from Seattle.

For the record - I think a multi-party capitalist state is a better bet for longterm growth than a single-party capitalist state.
Written By: unaha-closp
Thomas Barnett point is that economic rulesets will advance faster then political rulesets. As long as economic rulesets advancing toward capitalism it will pull the political rulesets toward democracy. The most important thing United Stated can do is to use it economic commectivity with China to help move it economic and political rulesets foreward. Economic rulesets move faster than political rulesets because people make economic choices each day but ,even in the USA, at make political choices maybe couple times a year.
Written By: Kenneth
URL: http://
The one thing to really look out for Barnett is a certain sense of ’economic determinism’, the reasoning that if there is x globalization there will be corresponding x political development. China is a fascinating example refuting this inference. Yes, after Deng Xiaopings ’Reform and Opening’ capitalism is the preferred way, but the ’Communist Party’ has figured out a way to make the capitalists stay a part of the state system, dependent on their loyalty to the existing order. Russia is another interesting example, and you can imagine many others following their example as a way to avoid the ’preferred’ political developments of the Western states. The forces of globalization compel states to reform to be competitive, not to follow some ideology. Remember during the Cold War, for many of these underdeveloped states- even with the civil wars, massacres and tragedies- Communism was a step up, not back.

Back to the Arabs though- in a certain way their wealth, through globalized oil markets, inhibits their ability to develop. It’s easier to export their violence than to undermine the current governing systems, exposing themselves to the potential risk that might bring. It’s hard to conclude that anything less than war will make them substantially change their mind. But due to the interconnectedness of globalization, war is not easy for those who are affected by their political instability. Interesting times and all that....
Written By: Sunguh
A+ on analysis. F on solution.
That’s pretty much my feeling about his theories (although I may give him a D instead of an F on the solution side). I find his analysis of globalization and its impact to be as well reasoned, thoughtful and clear as any out there. It explains a lot. I’m not ready to buy into his solutions, but I can at least understand why he makes them.

So I’m going to concentrate on the analysis in future posts and we’ll see if we can’t come up with different solutions. But, although I wouldn’t call his theories "revolutionary", they are certainly provocative and clearly worth discussion.
Written By: McQ
Yeah, ’revolutionary’ might be a bit over the top. But ’rigidly ideological’ still holds, IMHO. IE- If x is the problem, then only y is the solution.

What the hell, I’ll still be reading it. If only to exercise the grump in me.
Written By: Sunguh
Globalization is GM and Ford sending their factories and jobs to China and then filing for bankruptcy so they can avoid paying for the American pensions of American retired workers. American Taxpayers will be picking up that tab soon.
Written By: Gaz
URL: http://
Gaz; At the risk of side-tracking the conversation...(I think this is an important one) I must ask you... do you blame that on the companies trying to survive under the weight of regulation and taxation plus unreasonable wage and benefit demands, or do you blame the unions and the liberal governments which set it all up for that kind of failure?

Written By: Bithead
Bruce, this is an extremely interesting article. However, I don’t think we can seriously ask the question "Is globalism’s price Islamic terror?" unless our access to world events is some how limited.

(Warning: the link towards the bottom of my post is a link to a lengthy video (75 mins). Its contents go some way to explaining why globalization is being met by Islamic terror. While the content of the video is not balanced, it makes interesting viewing).

Individuals, wherever they are in the world, especially the young, have always and will always aspire to greater freedom, wealth, opportunity and independence. For decades America has been the most visible model of these virtues to the world. And in today’s world of one super-power, these values have spread, largely unchallenged and welcomed: Glabalization.

There are countries however, that are resisting globalization and it seems the benefits which accompany it. These countries are not confined to the Middle East or to the Arab world. There is resistance, however token, in every country which is seeing an erosion of their traditional way of life. The "West" usually views strong resistance to the American model of globalization as supression of freedom and opportunity and this view is usually but not always correct.

Wider, faster and uncensored communication across the world has brought to the global shop-window the wonderful trappings of "free and democratic" societies. Wider, faster and, importantly, uncensored communication has also brought to the shop-window, the living room, the youth center and the coffee house and the laundry house in the bazaar every reason for which America, the undisputed World Champion of Freedom and Democracy, should not be seen as a model for society, , and which some peoples believe should be resisted at all costs.

We shouldn’t always view such resistance (in the form of Islamic terrorism) to globalization - however ugly , as a rejection to or supression of freedom and democracy. Why? because globalization is probably not what is being resisted.

Written By: Stephen
URL: http://
Thomas Barnett point is that economic rulesets will advance faster then political rulesets. As long as economic rulesets advancing toward capitalism it will pull the political rulesets toward democracy. The most important thing United Stated can do is to use it economic commectivity with China to help move it economic and political rulesets foreward. Economic rulesets move faster than political rulesets because people make economic choices each day but ,even in the USA, at make political choices maybe couple times a year.

Written By: Kenneth
That’s an interesting point. People who have hideous political views often make good choices when their immediate economic interests are at stake. I know several people who would vote for socialism and have no clue about economic theory, but some of them tend to make good economic decisions in their own lives, never mind that those decisions often contradict their socialist ideology.
Written By: Don
URL: http://
We shouldn’t always view such resistance (in the form of Islamic terrorism) to globalization - however ugly , as a rejection to or supression of freedom and democracy. Why? because globalization is probably not what is being resisted.
An interesting point.

I wonder if you expand on this a little bit. One of the gray areas of this entire conversation for the last 30 years has been how much of this resistance to globalization that we’re seeing in particular in the Middle East, is religiously driven, how much of it is culturally driven, and how much of it is financially driven, and of course, how much of it is simply power-lust?

It seems to me that our efforts to combat this terrorism will be less than fully effective until such time as we nail the answers to those questions down.
Written By: Bithead
What globalization brings with its connectivity is a "content flow" which many societies see as a threat to their existence and well being. It brings ideas, products, services, mass media and other things which the society may see as direct threat to its cultural foundations.
We know that there are those on the left and the right in American politics that have a problem with the current "content flow" in our culture.

Isn’t it a bit of "pot - kettle - black" to criticize Iran and conservative Muslims for their response to globalization while our own culture (and FCC) hasn’t made up its mind whether the "content flow" is a "threat"?

Granted, Lieberman and Dobson aren’t declaring their intentions to bomb Hollywood and Nashville, but the difference between our censors and those in the Middle East is surely one of degree, right?
Written By: Adam Sharp

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