1 readers online now  |  69 million page views

A Millipolar/ Bipolar/ Unipolar World

Reader comment on item: Caliph Ibrahim's Brutal Moment
in response to reader comment: all very puzzling

Submitted by Michael S (United States), Aug 13, 2014 at 05:07

Hi, Sara

Perhaps two years ago, events in the Middle East were already so complex, I had to begin a serious study in the matter. I grew up with the Cold War, wherein the whole world was painted as either "Red" (which, in those days meant the opposite of what it does today. Nowadays, "Red" means "Republican, whereas then it meant "Communist") or "White" (as in, "white hats, the good guys"). It wasn't a perfect picture, because a third group, the "nonaligned" nations, was growing with each newly-independent state. The US was a nuclear superpower and one of two countries with manned space programs (the other was the Soviet Union). The British and French were closely allied with one another and with the US; and the Germans and Japanese were occupied countries. The Chinese were a hidden society, allied with the Russians, India was impoverished and everyone else seemed to be struggling to get back on its feet after a devastating Second World War.

That "Red-White" division, along with "swing states" that generally traded with the "whites" but militarily lined up with the "reds", provided a good thumbnail sketch of the world clear up to 1967: Israel, Turkey, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and Iran were the "good guys"; and Egypt, Syria and Libya were the "bad guys". Then the Arab-Israeli War came back to life, with a now-powerful Arab League crossing Red/White lines to gang up on the Jews. In 1973, all the Arab oil states turned on the US, along with the Iranians; and we tried to counter this trend by getting the Egyptians to make peace with Israel and join the "White" side. The same year the treaty was signed, however, the Ayatollah came to power in Iran -- vehemently anti-US and anti-Israel, and no friend of the Russians either. The Islamist bloc had come unto its own.

With the fall of the Soviet Union, and China becoming a free-market economy, it looked as though the "whites" had won: We had become a unipolar Utopia, with only a few renegades such as the Ayatollah standing in our way. With the 9/11 attack in 2001, the US was at a historic high point, able to get the direct cooperation of virtually every country in the world, including the Russians, to invade Afghanistan and vanquish the Taliban. We followed this up with a show of force in Iraq, and the West seemed invincible. The Saudis were our allies, and the Egyptians, and the Syrians and the Israelis; the Russians were "Partners for Peace", etc.

Between 2003 and today, all hell has broken loose. 2008 was an especially bad year, with the worldwide financial crisis. The Chinese were seen as the bogeyman of our financial woes, and Putin started reasserting Russian independence. By the end of 2012, the Russians dominated the Eastern Mediterranean; and the next year, they humiliated us in Syria. Meanwhile, the "Arab Spring" turned into a bloody nightmare. As you say, it looked as though a fight along sectarian lines had developed; but when Ultra-Super-Crazy al-Nusra started going tooth-and-claw against Ultra-Super-Crazy ISIS, it started getting really hard to tell the players apart.

In order to divide the world into "teams", I at first considered which groups were having at one another the most. I was surprised to find that one of the biggest conflicts in the world was the Mexican Drug Wars, in which drug cartels that had once been under the same godfather were going after each other and anyone else who got in the way. On the other hand, countries that had not yet gone to war with one another and were actually "allied" with each other, such as Israel and Turkey, were bitter enemies.

What I've come up with, is not two or three, but seventeen groups of countries that have some sort of internal cohesiveness but have a major tiff with others. As splintered as this grouping is, I had to lump together Turkey, Qatar, Al Nusra, Al Qaeda, ISIS, the Muslim Brotherhood and others into a single group; and I grouped Israel as an ally of the US -- something one would seriously doubt, if one were to listen in on a phone conversation between Bibi Netanyahu and Barack Obama. Also in the latter group are the Japanese and Koreans, who hate each other more than they hate the Chinese.

The Bible says that in the last days, people would be notorious covenant breakers; and members of families could not trust one another. At the same time, there would be conspiracies and alliances everywhere. With the US spying on everyone, including its own citizens, the times prophesied are painfully with us.

Nobody's really on anyone's side; and about the only thing the nations of the UN have been able to agree on, throughout that institution's existence, is the condemnation of Israel. The only thing that has stood in the way of an all-out attack on Israel by the "United Gentiles" ("gentiles" and "nations" are equivalent translations of the same Hebrew word) has been the US veto in the Security Council.

That's the bottom line, as I see it.

Shalom shalom :-)

Submitting....

Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

Comment on this item

Mark my comment as a response to A Millipolar/ Bipolar/ Unipolar World by Michael S

Email me if someone replies to my comment

Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

See recent outstanding comments.

Follow Daniel Pipes

Facebook   Twitter   RSS   Join Mailing List
eXTReMe Tracker

All materials by Daniel Pipes on this site: © 1968-2020 Daniel Pipes. daniel.pipes@gmail.com and @DanielPipes

Support Daniel Pipes' work with a tax-deductible donation to the Middle East Forum.Daniel J. Pipes

(The MEF is a publicly supported, nonprofit organization under section 501(c)3 of the Internal Revenue Code.

Contributions are tax deductible to the full extent allowed by law. Tax-ID 23-774-9796, approved Apr. 27, 1998.

For more information, view our IRS letter of determination.)