To Be the Big Dog or Not
Reader comment on item: How the West Could Lose
Submitted by Michael (United States), Apr 11, 2007 at 11:49
To Be the Big Dog or Not
A continual pattern of counter-hegemonic forces converging to oppose what they view as oppression by the US and its supporters goes beyond just how the Jihadists can win. Briefly and simply, hegemony refers to a dominant military, political or cultural entity. Counter-hegemony refers to the forces opposing dominance, which frequently seek to become the dominant entity. Such tensions have probably existed as long as mankind.
As a psychologist it is apparent that the psychology happening worldwide is that people are being persuaded that the USA, its allies, particularly European allies and Israel are the hegemonic aggressors. Other peoples of the world, particularly those in poverty are the victims of US/Western oppression and exploitation. Thus, in the minds of counter-hegemonists, opposition to the USA is essential to improving the lot of impoverished peoples of the world. A convergence of extremists evolves to oppose the USA. The solution of the world's problems in their minds is rejection of USA influence and its co-occurring components, freedom, tolerance, capitalism (corporate exploitation of the masses) and Judeo-Christian values. The shortcomings (such as violence against innocents) of their own ideologies are explained away as necessary components in opposition to hegemonic enitities.
The people of the USA have their own struggle with hegemony. Perhaps, not wanting to be viewed as a dominant, evil force in the world or viewing American policies as promoting American hegemony many people oppose American policies and so voted in the November 2006 elections. Such trends are observable in the UK, Israel and Australian political climates as well. "Operation Iraqi Freedom" has exposed the fact that Western style democracies are still the minority system of governance and are vastly opposed in the world. The fall of the Soviet Union did not result in a peaceful world as many hoped, simply a respite from the ongoing tensions of competition for dominance.
The question becomes, which system/ideology might be offered as an alternative? I think it is forseeable that a system of Social Jihadism could evolve. This could include the goal of replacement of Western style legal systems with Sharia law and replacement of capitalism with nationalized/socialist economies. Many people would see taking from the rich capitalists and sharing the wealth with the poor as superior to how they currently live (at least in theory). Let us not forget the extreme right who probably will have no difficulty with such a system as long as the "racially superior" are in charge and can engage in their programs of genetic purification. After all, they did refer to themselves as "National Socialists."
American/Western peoples must choose whether or not they want to maintain a dominant position in the world. Persuading the world that USA style democracies/capitalism/values/culture are the better option takes enormous community will and unity of purpose . As surely as many predict, if the American people do not have the stomach for what it takes to be a dominant military, political and cultural entity in the world, another entity(entities) will become dominant and it won't be a system the majority of American/Western people will like.
Some additional references:
http://www.adl.org/learn/ext_us/ "the convergence between the radical right and some elements of the radical left -- conspiratorial antiglobalists and hard-core anarchists in particular; "
January 05, 2007
http://www.theory.org.uk/ctr-gram.htm - Gramsci
Knowing the Enemy: Jihadist Ideology and the War on Terror, M. Habek, Yale University Press, New Haven, 2006
Unholy Alliance: Radical Islam and the American Left, D. Horowitz, Regnery Publishing, 2004.
The Clash of Ideologies: The Making of the Christian and Islamic Worlds, D. Jonsson, Xulon Press, 2005
The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers, Paul M. Kennedy (Random House, 1987), p. 515
http://www.fpri.org/enotes/20061213.krauthammer.pastapogee.html - Krauthammer speech
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