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Some Impressions on the War on Terrorism

The most fascinating and awful thing to confront is this. The conflict is not between some aspect of Islam versus the West. It is the old-world hemisphere versus the new-world hemisphere. Islam, like Rome, was a phase in the life of the Mediterranean world.

The old-world is possibility as it has been; the new world is possibility as it is.

Through its generations of refinement, the old-world has been a kind of self-repression that can't think outside the box. It wants to exist in a world where there are no machines, capital, mass communications, science even. The new-world is raucous because it has money and freedom. It will take generations to tame it. We laugh and scorn at its behavior at times but live happily in its energy. And are like silver coins tossed on a midnight ocean. We are not a past. We know the past and take up its most vital seeds and grow them in the direction of an emerging world.

In some people's minds Europe will re-emerge and contend for the center of power with the United States. I doubt it but it's an interesting thesis. It's much more likely that Europe will descend into the type of civil wars we saw in Bosnia.

Twice in my lifetime I've heard credible reports of entities overtaking the United States. One was in the late 70's when the price of oil shot up and Middle-Eastern countries were buying up property in the U.S. "We're all going to have to learn to bow to Mecca," I heard on more than one occasion. The second time I heard this was with the rise of Japan in the 80's. Japanese banks were dominant, Japanese were buying U.S property at a rapid clip, Japanese products were favored by the domestic consumer. In both instances, the fear was groundless because those countries either didn't have the dynamics or real experience with bust and boom cycles. At any rate, the powers of the United State are real when they are measured by the success it has in maintaining a stable and growing economy through bust and boom cycles.

"We are the future." What does this statement mean? It could just be a form of jingoism, convincing ourselves that we are righteous all the while teetering on the abyss. It is true for this reason. We are free of the past and free to build a future that will be resisted by an old, smug world. And we need not take over one country, interfere with any other people, screw anyone out of anything.

Posted September 15, 2003

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David Eide
copyright 2003
March 27, 2003