Best of the Week
Most Popular
1. Gold vs Cash in a Financial Crisis - Richard_Mills
2.Current Stock Market Rally Similarities To 1999 - Chris_Vermeulen
3.America See You On The Dark Side Of The Moon - Part2 - James_Quinn
4.Stock Market Trend Forecast Outlook for 2020 - Nadeem_Walayat
5.Who Said Stock Market Traders and Investor are Emotional Right Now? - Chris_Vermeulen
6.Gold Upswing and Lessons from Gold Tops - P_Radomski_CFA
7.Economic Tribulation is Coming, and Here is Why - Michael_Pento
8.What to Expect in Our Next Recession/Depression? - Raymond_Matison
9.The Fed Celebrates While Americans Drown in Financial Despair - John_Mauldin
10.Hi-yo Silver Away! - Richard_Mills
Last 7 days
The Past Stock Market Week Was More Important Than You May Understand - 31st Mar 20
Coronavirus - No, You Do Not Hear the Fat Lady Warming Up - 31st Mar 20
Life, Religions, Business, Globalization & Information Technology In The Post-Corona Pandemics Age - 31st Mar 20
Three Charts Every Stock Market Trader and Investor Must See - 31st Mar 20
Coronavirus Stocks Bear Market Trend Forecast - Video - 31st Mar 20
Coronavirus Dow Stocks Bear Market Into End April 2020 Trend Forecast - 31st Mar 20
Is it better to have a loan or credit card debt when applying for a mortgage? - 31st Mar 20
US and UK Coronavirus Trend Trajectories vs Bear Market and AI Stocks Sector - 30th Mar 20
Are Gold and Silver Mirroring 1999 to 2011 Again? - 30th Mar 20
Stock Market Next Cycle Low 7th April - 30th Mar 20
United States Coronavirus Infections and Deaths Trend Forecasts Into End April 2020 - 29th Mar 20
Some Positives in a Virus Wracked World - 29th Mar 20
Expert Tips to Save on Your Business’s Office Supply Purchases - 29th Mar 20
An Investment in Life - 29th Mar 20
Sheffield Coronavirus Pandemic Infections and Deaths Forecast - 29th Mar 20
UK Coronavirus Infections and Deaths Projections Trend Forecast - Video - 28th Mar 20
The Great Coronavirus Depression - Things Are Going to Change. Here’s What We Should Do - 28th Mar 20
One of the Biggest Stock Market Short Covering Rallies in History May Be Imminent - 28th Mar 20
The Fed, the Coronavirus and Investing - 28th Mar 20
Women’s Fashion Trends in the UK this 2020 - 28th Mar 20
The Last Minsky Financial Snowflake Has Fallen – What Now? - 28th Mar 20
UK Coronavirus Infections and Deaths Projections Trend Forecast Into End April 2020 - 28th Mar 20
DJIA Coronavirus Stock Market Technical Trend Analysis - 27th Mar 20
US and UK Case Fatality Rate Forecast for End April 2020 - 27th Mar 20
US Stock Market Upswing Meets Employment Data - 27th Mar 20
Will the Fed Going Nuclear Help the Economy and Gold? - 27th Mar 20
What you need to know about the impact of inflation - 27th Mar 20
CoronaVirus Herd Immunity, Flattening the Curve and Case Fatality Rate Analysis - 27th Mar 20
NHS Hospitals Before Coronavirus Tsunami Hits (Sheffield), STAY INDOORS FINAL WARNING! - 27th Mar 20
CoronaVirus Curve, Stock Market Crash, and Mortgage Massacre - 27th Mar 20
Finding an Expert Car Accident Lawyer - 27th Mar 20
We Are Facing a Depression, Not a Recession - 26th Mar 20
US Housing Real Estate Market Concern - 26th Mar 20
Covid-19 Pandemic Affecting Bitcoin - 26th Mar 20
Italy Coronavirus Case Fataility Rate and Infections Trend Analysis - 26th Mar 20
Why Is Online Gambling Becoming More Popular? - 26th Mar 20
Dark Pools of Capital Profiting from Coronavirus Stock Markets CRASH! - 26th Mar 20
CoronaVirus Herd Immunity and Flattening the Curve - 25th Mar 20
Coronavirus Lesson #1 for Investors: Beware Predictions of Stock Market Bottoms - 25th Mar 20
CoronaVirus Stock Market Trend Implications - 25th Mar 20
Pandemonium in Precious Metals Market as Fear Gives Way to Command Economy - 25th Mar 20
Pandemics and Gold - 25th Mar 20
UK Coronavirus Hotspots - Cities with Highest Risks of Getting Infected - 25th Mar 20
WARNING US Coronavirus Infections and Deaths Going Ballistic! - 24th Mar 20
Coronavirus Crisis - Weeks Where Decades Happen - 24th Mar 20
Industry Trends: Online Casinos & Online Slots Game Market Analysis - 24th Mar 20
Five Amazingly High-Tech Products Just on the Market that You Should Check Out - 24th Mar 20
UK Coronavirus WARNING - Infections Trend Trajectory Worse than Italy - 24th Mar 20
Rick Rule: 'A Different Phrase for Stocks Bear Market Is Sale' - 24th Mar 20
Stock Market Minor Cycle Bounce - 24th Mar 20
Gold’s century - While stocks dominated headlines, gold quietly performed - 24th Mar 20
Big Tech Is Now On The Offensive Against The Coronavirus - 24th Mar 20
Socialism at Its Finest after Fed’s Bazooka Fails - 24th Mar 20
Dark Pools of Capital Profiting from Coronavirus Stock and Financial Markets CRASH! - 23rd Mar 20
Will Trump’s Free Cash Help the Economy and Gold Market? - 23rd Mar 20
Coronavirus Clarifies Priorities - 23rd Mar 20
Could the Coronavirus Cause the Next ‘Arab Spring’? - 23rd Mar 20
Concerned About The US Real Estate Market? Us Too! - 23rd Mar 20
Gold Stocks Peak Bleak? - 22nd Mar 20
UK Supermarkets Coronavirus Panic Buying, Empty Tesco Shelves, Stock Piling, Hoarding Preppers - 22nd Mar 20
US Coronavirus Infections and Deaths Going Ballistic as Government Start to Ramp Up Testing - 21st Mar 20
Your Investment Portfolio for the Next Decade—Fix It with the “Anti-Stock” - 21st Mar 20
CORONA HOAX: This Is Almost Completely Contrived and Here’s Proof - 21st Mar 20
Gold-Silver Ratio Tops 100; Silver Headed For Sub-$10 - 21st Mar 20
Coronavirus - Don’t Ask, Don’t Test - 21st Mar 20
Napag and Napag Trading Best Petroleum & Crude Oil Company - 21st Mar 20
UK Coronavirus Infections Trend Trajectory Worse than Italy - Government PANICs! Sterling Crashes! - 20th Mar 20
UK Critical Care Nurse Cries at Empty SuperMarket Shelves, Coronavirus Panic Buying Stockpiling - 20th Mar 20
Coronavirus Is Not an Emergency. It’s a War - 20th Mar 20
Why You Should Invest in the $5 Gold Coin - 20th Mar 20
Four Key Stock Market Questions To This Coronavirus Crisis Everyone is Asking - 20th Mar 20
Gold to Silver Ratio’s Breakout – Like a Hot Knife Through Butter - 20th Mar 20
The Coronavirus Contraction - Only Cooperation Can Defeat Impending Global Crisis - 20th Mar 20
Is This What Peak Market Fear Looks Like? - 20th Mar 20
Alessandro De Dorides - Business Consultant - 20th Mar 20
Why a Second Depression is Possible but Not Likely - 20th Mar 20

Market Oracle FREE Newsletter

Coronavirus-bear-market-2020-analysis

The Borderless World Of Islamic Instability

Politics / Middle East Aug 19, 2013 - 01:56 PM GMT

By: Andrew_McKillop

Politics

TIME WAS
“The End of History and the Last Man”, the 1992 bestseller of Francis Fukuyama hailed the triumph of globalization and the arrival of a One World State of borderless prosperity – which didn't arrive. History continued, then accelerated.

Fukuyama's book spawned a crop of lookalike works trying to catch the market opportunity, in which authors pondered a spiraling pot pourri of themes like wither and whence Western civilization was going, the future of democracy, the end of the business cycle, world music and The Death of the Nation State. Rather like global warming, this elite theme or meme burnt itself out through over-hype and by boring the public to death with endless and pompous repetition. Well before 2000, and certainly by Sept 2001 the robust survival of History was assured.


In the Arab and Muslim world, however, history was dead – or gave a good imitation of it – until 2011 when it reawoke with a vengeance. The monster had awoken from its slumbers. To be sure, the business spinoff themes from Fukuyama's story – like whether the Dow Jones Industrial Average would reach 12 000 and then why not 24 000? - continued as if all was well, with sparkling essays frothily speculating that if Microsoft merged with Google (or perhaps Apple) this would change the world as we knew it and even supercede the need for governments in any country, anywhere.

At least as dated in fact, works on the linked theme of “global hegemony” are now veritable historical curiosities. For a few years, Western intellectuals or “pundits” were in a state of ferment about the rise of a global American empire in which the United States, exploiting its unequaled military power, would make the world safe for Microsoft, Google and perhaps Apple, that is safe for “American ideals”. In the Middle East, a cornerstone of this now long-departed Pax Americana we had the Israel-Egypt pair, not exactly an equal pair with Israel having about a third of the population of New York City, and Egypt an awful lot more. They however created, thanks to massive and constant military spending and endless punditry, an interesting mirage of no-change, called “stability”. A little further east, trusty Saudi Arabia and the other Gulf States kept on pumping oil. All was well or so it seemed.

ALL CHANGE
The collapse of communism, worldwide economic liberalization and the advancement of information technology and IT-based communication have all affected global politics and social systems. But that was about the long and the short of it. All kinds of “epochal” business mega-mergers were made and then “unwound”. The business cycle kept on popping up then popping down, with frenetic gusto in 2008 and since. The nation state stubbornly kept on existing, in fact reinforced by post-1990s terrorism and the rampant economic instability caused by ideology-driven market liberalization with no thought to regulating human greed or malevolence. Reality bytes are the bite of reality, the world is complex.

Change was itself “too much” for a generation of deciders who had acted as if History was dead or didn't matter throughout the 1945-1990 period. The cozy duopoly of the Cold War, the United States versus the Soviet Union, was broken up and replaced by the image-only of a US monopoly — the virtual American empire. Outside of and underneath this intellectual mirage all the elements and drivers that had turned globalization into a reality ran riot. At one and the same time the nation-state was stronger, and didn't exist anymore. Its economy had been totally internationalized, while the domestic political and social demands on the nation-state expanded ever larger as Western sovereign debt exploded out of control.

For the Arab states, coming late to the change party, this had – and has – very somber sequels.

What we know today is that US military supremacy cannot transform America into a real world empire which for the Arab states would imply some form or type of a new “high tech” Ottoman Empire. The US is already overstretched – post Iraq in Afghanistan, and through running its not-too-successful drone war in Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia and other not-exactly world class countries. At least as important, what possible economic interest – other than oil and gas – exists for the US or any other potential, possible or imaginary Great Power in the Middle East?

This is the reality and a highly uncomfortable one for all Arabs, whether potentates or the “Arab street”. Other than oil and gas, their region is a backwater, a hard market to operate in that is hostile to foreigners with vast income inequalities, and beset by a killer mix of too much regulation and rampant corruption.

NO CHANGE
After the fall of the Ottoman Empire in 1917 only the very brave or very foolish would try to put Humpty back together again. Plenty of historical evidence and theory can be marshaled to suggest that when Britain tried, it ruined itself faster and accelerated its already rapid Loss of Empire through meddling and dithering in the Middle East in the 1920s and 1930s. That was the experience of Britain during the 20th century as it tried unsuccessfully to secure the foundations of its post-1918 empire. In the Middle East always driven by oil and naval strategic transport interests, it put the Hashemites in power in Jordan and Iraq, set up the Saudis after epic horsetrading with the US, opposed and supported the French setting up their Alawite regime which gave Syria the el-Assads, maintained its influence in Egypt by repression and then lost it with Faroukh and the 1956 Suez debacle, and incompetently tried to end the cycle of violence between Palestinians and Jews in the Holy Land.

We know how the movie ended for Pax Britannica, formally in 1971. The real costs of the British Empire in the Middle East, like elsewhere, were vastly higher than the hoped-for benefits. Everything played towards that “surprising” end result, including constant rivalry and conflict with its Allies of 1914-18, the French and Americans. One key factor of change was that from 1917 to 1971 rather a lot also happened at home – for example democracy and votes for women, underscoring the huge gap between the imperial goal of ordered stability, and the idealist pro-democracy sentiment. Just like “classic warfare', we can say that the classic imperial power concept no longer holds. Monopolizing power in the Middle East, and anywhere else in the world, is no longer possible.

Unfortunately, we can bet that a large range of political and military deciders reject that argument.

Latecomers to the imperial party may be dazzled by the trappings of this antique gala event. Creating an Internet-enabled new Ottoman Empire in the Middle East and North Africa could seem enticing – and possibly even feasible – to a very small number of powerbrokers.  Americans would be thinking in terms of an oligopoly covering the Middle East and its Islamic Crescent of Instability — which in its jumbo version stretches from the Balkans to the borders of China — and the new imperial club would include the European Union, Russia, China, India and several mid-sized powers like Brazil, Nigeria and Indonesia, but curiously not Turkey or Saudi Arabia!

Such a diplomatic-military cooperative system has in fact been mooted, by NATO planners among others, since the 1990s but faces so many real-world challenges they can hardly be listed. Among these, we only have to mention complexity and its adjoint “multipolarity”. This is certainly Internet-enabled and can produce what we have today in the ever-widening Islamic arc of instability.

BORDERLESS INSTABILITY
For a variety of reasons among which we can include, if not feature globalization the post-2000 world is certainly more unstable. Containing terrorism and dealing with instability in the Middle East and its periphery – which as already noted has a jumbo version – would in theory need full and permanent cooperation by China and India – as well as Turkey and other regional-focus countries.

Nothing like this cooperation exists. Rivalry yes, cooperation no.

One flagrant example thrown up by the Egypt crisis is Turkey. With Qatar, it is ranged on the pro-Morsi side of the power equation. Turkey's Erdogan from July 18 refused to meet “nice guy” Mohamed ElBaradei, the interim vice president installed by the coup leaders, saying he was 'not elected' but 'appointed by the orchestrators of a coup'. Erdogan has fulminated against what he calls Western hypocrisy and duplicity in Egypt and calls the killings of Morsi supporters and imprisonment of Morsi  criminal acts. Like Qatar's Egyptian channel of Al Jazeera, Turkey has repeatedly called for Egypt’s military leaders to be put on trial for operating a series of “massacres”.

Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz, most recently on August 16 has said his kingdom “supports Egypt in its fight against terrorism”, and that resistance to the military coup which overthrew an elected president – even if unpopular – was the work of “haters”. His statement notably said: “This attempt to unsettle Egypt’s unity and stability - carried out by the ignorant, the inadvertent, or the mindful of the enemy's design - will, God willing, be fruitless”. With other Gulf States, excluding Qatar, Saudi Arabia has to date given $12 billion to the perpetrators of the coup.

To this backdrop, what “ensemble of great powers” could restore or impose “stability” in the Middle East today? The supposed  “realpolitik tradition” of forcing a complex world into a mold of stability, or a straitjacket of No Change, is more fantasist than ever. Whatever the Indiana Jones imperial fantasies that are being nurtured and cobbled in the think thanks of the self-declared free world, reality on the ground is stubbornly difficult, multipolar and changing fast.

THE POST-GLOBAL WORLD
As already noted, the Middle East and Arab World were subjected to decades of “freeze frame” before the film started again, with a jump. Oil and gas certainly had a lot to do with that, but as proven by Libya, Tunisia and Yemen already, and Egypt very soon, there is no way Humpty can be put back together again. Like any other state-owned or -controlled enterprise, the oil and gas sector is a natural focus for strikes, protection rackets, theft and ransom attempts and a natural focus for post-revolutionary power bargaining between rival groups and factions.

When the West and Asians understand this, their responses will likely at first be chaotic and uncoordinated, totally unlike the Think Tank fantasy of an “ensemble of great powers” working calmly or “seamlessly” towards restoring stability, favouring democracy and making the region safe for Google and Microsoft. Rather certainly in the think tank world, the intellectual fad of the moment called Free Market Empire or perhaps the McDonald World of french fries and ersatz prosperity has adepts and partisans, but absolutely no traction on the emerging  and breaking Middle East crisis.

We can quite easily, with an increasing number of authors and analysts ask if the total triumph of globalism carried the seeds of its own decline. It was possibly a “best by” short lived revolution in ways of doing business and operating the economy that is now fading. For national and regional political and social change, also, globalism fades when the nation is wracked by change. Egypt is an excellent example of this — with foreign correspondents and film crews already harassed or attacked by both sides in the national conflict for alleged reporting bias. Both sides say “foreigners cannot understand our struggle”. In Syria as we know, the iron curtain rang down long ago.

This merely underlines that those who once celebrated globalism and the advent of ersatz prosperity are continually overtaken by events, and their one-liners are rejected by the actors of change on the ground. To be sure this means instability. Its potential is high for brushfire spreading across firstly the restricted-definition Middle East and North African Muslim world, and then later the jumbo version. Due to this being post-global with all its meanings, we cannot be surprised about either the speed or multipolarity of change, real change this time.

By Andrew McKillop

Contact: xtran9@gmail.com

Former chief policy analyst, Division A Policy, DG XVII Energy, European Commission. Andrew McKillop Biographic Highlights

Co-author 'The Doomsday Machine', Palgrave Macmillan USA, 2012

Andrew McKillop has more than 30 years experience in the energy, economic and finance domains. Trained at London UK’s University College, he has had specially long experience of energy policy, project administration and the development and financing of alternate energy. This included his role of in-house Expert on Policy and Programming at the DG XVII-Energy of the European Commission, Director of Information of the OAPEC technology transfer subsidiary, AREC and researcher for UN agencies including the ILO.

© 2013 Copyright Andrew McKillop - All Rights Reserved Disclaimer: The above is a matter of opinion provided for general information purposes only and is not intended as investment advice. Information and analysis above are derived from sources and utilising methods believed to be reliable, but we cannot accept responsibility for any losses you may incur as a result of this analysis. Individuals should consult with their personal financial advisor.

Andrew McKillop Archive

© 2005-2019 http://www.MarketOracle.co.uk - The Market Oracle is a FREE Daily Financial Markets Analysis & Forecasting online publication.


Post Comment

Only logged in users are allowed to post comments. Register/ Log in

6 Critical Money Making Rules