2015: A Much Darker Crystal Ball

The Middle East will remain a boiling cauldron as both al-Qaeda and ISIS continue their wars for territory and subjugation in Syria and Iraq, while targeting Saudi Arabia. Both groups are casting their eyes on other parts of the Middle East with Jordan and, ultimately, Saudi Arabia coming in their cross-hairs. Just before the Paris attack, ISIS sent a suicide team across the border into Saudi Arabia and killed a Saudi general at a-Saudi border outpost.

By Morgan Norval | January 20, 2015

2015 opened with a tragic big bang – the killing of innocents in Paris at Charlie Hebdo magazine and the kosher market by Islamist terrorists. While this incident made headlines throughout the world, Boko Haram jihadis had already massacred over 2000 people wiping out a village in Northern Nigeria. News coverage of this was minimal. Paris wasn’t burning but Nigeria was. Nigerian Catholic Archbishop Ignatius Kaima criticized the West’s lack of response to the massacre declared, “I can smell a lot more trouble. It’s not going to be confined to this region. It’s going to expand. It will get to Europe and elsewhere.”  It got to Paris a few days later.

Islamists are baring their fangs and, no doubt, other terrorist attacks will be carried out in the future. (More on this later.)

The Middle East will remain a boiling cauldron as both al-Qaeda and ISIS continue their wars for territory and subjugation in Syria and Iraq, while targeting Saudi Arabia. Both groups are casting their eyes on other parts of the Middle East with Jordan and, ultimately, Saudi Arabia coming in their cross-hairs. Just before the Paris attack, ISIS sent a suicide team across the border into Saudi Arabia and killed a Saudi general at a-Saudi border outpost.

Afghanistan is moving closer and closer to tribal-induced chaos as the U.S. and NATO withdraw. The Taliban, at present, is the best organized to take control in the country. However, once the foreigners – U.S. and NATO – exit in accordance with President Obama’s political timetable, Afghanis will resume their age-old tribal conflicts enhanced by drug profits, which will enable them to keep supplying themselves with up-to-date weapons.

Another disturbing trend in Afghanistan is that ISIS is setting up shop in the country. That doesn’t bode well for countries in the region having significant Muslim populations among their citizenry.

China faces a looming financial crisis from its growing mal-investment bubble – a crony communist economy, if you will. When this bubble will burst is anybody’s guess, but bubbles do burst, and when they do, chaos ensues. (Recall when America’s 2006-2007 housing bubble burst it triggered our recession, from which we have not fully recovered.)

In Hong Kong, student-led protests mounted for months-on-end last year in opposition to Beijing’s insistence on approving candidates to represent the ‘Special Administrative Region’ when it is supposed to achieve universal suffrage in 2017 – one man, one vote is in jeopardy. Margaret Thatcher negotiated and signed the treaty with China known as the ‘joint declaration’ acknowledging “One Country-Two Systems” over a 50-year period to ensure prosperity and a level of democracy in the territory. However, as Beijing has shown, it has no intention of abiding by the Basic Law granting Hong Kong universal suffrage. In 2015, the Chinese Lunar New Year of the Goat can be expected to be anything but gentle and calm.

Moreover, Beijing continues its aggressive attitude towards its neighbors, as it makes the seas between them into a virtual “China Lake.” China’s development of the 3M-54 Moskit anti-ship cruise missile system makes this possible. Moskit’s beach ball-like radar guided cross section skims 60 feet above the ocean surface and travels at a speed of roughly a half-mile per second. Using many of these in a swarming manner is designed to overcome a naval fleets’ air-defense capability. These missiles can be launched from fighter jets using land-based air fields on the Chinese mainland.  Using this swarming tactic, Moskits can strike U.S. warships anywhere in the South and East China Seas, blunting U.S. power projection in the area.

Russia, as well as Iran, faces serious economic problems from the oil price collapse. Both countries rely on oil sales to fund their economies and in Iran’s case its funding of terror groups like Hezbollah and Hamas. It is questionable whether deteriorating economies in both countries will lead to political crises, as is forecast. Whether change comes or not, the situation is noticeably more tense, especially with regard to the situation in Ukraine.

In the United States, the Republicans now control both Houses of Congress. And, what does one Republican Senator, Bob Corker of Tennessee, do right off the bat? He advocates raising the federal gas tax by 12 cents per gallon to reduce the deficit. Reducing the deficit is a noble goal but anyone in their right mind knows politicians see increased funds as nothing more than a slush fund to spend on their pet projects favoring special interests. Cut the deficit, yes, by cutting spending. Raising taxes to do it is stupid but beloved by the liberal-left, which thrives on income and wealth redistribution – look for more of that ideological thrust in the coming year.

To paraphrase President Ronald Reagan, we don’t have deficits because the American people are taxed too little; we have deficits because government spends too much.

Islamists, as mentioned earlier, are baring their fangs and the recent attacks in Paris show the utter failure of the liberal’s love affair with multiculturalism. The Muslims in Europe are not assimilating into the countries where they are living. Instead they have formed Muslim ethnic ghettos which have essentially become so-called “no-go” zones for non-Muslims. These ghettos have become places where Islamic terrorists can easily blend in and plot their murderous acts. The Muslims came to Europe for work, not to join the culture of Europe, which their religion rejects, as it rejects U.S.-style democracy. In fact, multiculturalism perpetuates Muslim isolation. That isolation became more real when the Muslims came to Europe, or the U.S. for that matter, to make money, not to become French, Dutch, German, or even American.

George Friedman, of the strategic forecasting company called Stratfor, recently pointed out is his January 13, 2015 Geopolitical Weekly article, A War Between Two Worlds, “. . . Christianity has been sapped of its evangelical zeal and no longer uses the sword to kill and convert its enemies. At least parts of Islam retain that zeal. And saying all Muslims don’t share this vision does not solve the problem. Enough Muslims share that fervency to endanger the lives of those they despise, and the tendency towards violence cannot be tolerated by either their Western targets or by Muslims who refuse to subscribe to a jihadist ideology. And there is no way to distinguish those who might kill from those who won’t. The Muslim community might be able to make this distinction, but a 25-year-old European or American policeman cannot. And the Muslims either can’t or won’t police themselves. . .”

The dismal policy of multiculturalism won’t win over supporters of fanatics who believe their god wants you to kill and die for the glory of Islam. As with numerous cities in Europe and in the U.S. such as Dearborn, Michigan show multiculturalism is turning many of these cities, the supposed foundation of civilization, into areas of barbarism.

The refusal of Muslims to police themselves will eventually lead to an “us versus them” attitude, which could turn deadly. This frightening possibility was summed up almost a quarter of a century ago by one of the world’s pre-eminent military historians, Israeli historian Martin van Creveld. In his 1991 book, The Transformation of War, and repeated recently in his blog post titled The God of War, he wrote, “From the vantage point of the present, there appears every prospect that religious attitudes, beliefs, and fanaticisms will play a larger role in the motivation of armed conflict than it has, in the West at any rate, for the last 300 years. Already, as these lines are being written the fastest growing religion in the world is Islam. While there are many reasons for this, perhaps it would not be so far-fetched to say that its very militancy is one factor behind its spread. By this I do not merely mean to say that Islam seeks to achieve its aims by fighting; rather, that people in many parts of the world – including downtrodden groups in the developed world – are finding Islam attractive precisely because it is prepared to fight . . .

“If the growing militancy of one religion continues, it almost certainly will compel others to follow suit. People will be driven to defend their ideals and way of life, and their physical existence, and this they will be able to do under the banner of some great powerful idea. That idea may be secular by origin; however, the very fact that it is fought-for will cause it to acquire religious overtones and will be adhered to with something like religious fervor. Thus Muhammad’s recent revival may yet bring on that of the Christian Lord, and He will not be the Lord of love but that of battles.”

Today’s headlines make one wonder if these words, written in 1991, are in the process of coming true in the near future?

Recent events in Paris and Northern Nigeria seem to give validity to van Creveld’s words written a quarter century ago. If so, then the crystal ball gaze into the future has become even more murky and our future indeed indicates dark, dangerous days ahead, especially when the President of the United States, the one-time leader of the free world, refuses to acknowledge the enemy of Western Civilization as radical Islam.

Morgan Norval is the founder and Executive Director of the Selous Foundation for Public Policy Research and a contributor to SFPPR News & Analysis.