The wave of revolutions in the Mid-East may have hit bloody speedbumps in Libya, Syria and Bahrain, but the youthful majorities in these countries will surf its curl into the future. Expect to see the same seismic change rock the ‘stans of the former USSR and reap the whirlwind.
We think. We can’t really say. Fact is we have no clue who the people behind the Arab Spring actually are, including those ‘youthful majorities.’ We don’t know anyone who knows them and we don’t have their e-mails. Thinking of North Africans the way we do: as illiterate goatherds who treat their goats a lot better than their women, we’re frankly stunned these people even have e-mails. Or that most of them speak English and know how to tweet and look just - normal. Like Cubans but politer.
The problem facing journalists covering the Mid East is that the only informed sources are the same ones we’ve had for thirty years: bow-tied geeks and shrill blondes from right-leaning think-tanks often with an expat gerontocrat in tow; or scrawnier versions of same from left-leaning foundations and ‘centers’ often with their own, invariably female, expat. Both sets of informed sources focused on scoring points for, or against, a certain small country the size of Connecticut at the far end of the Mediterranean whose centrality to these numbingly circular shout-offs it’s not good form to point out.
Which is why the lot of them are gobsmacked by the Arab Spring. Especially its non-violence. Right and left agree on Islamic violence. Right-leaners inform us that the Koran requires Muslims to behead pickpockets and play soccer with the heads; left-leaning sources inform us every Muslim on earth can’t wait to throw acid in his daughter’s face. Then bingo! Tahrir Square! Do we sound the klaxon? Nooo. Turns out non-violent revolution is just a cover for the Islamic Brotherhood to take over the Mid-East. Again something right and left can agree upon. And in the real world baseless and worthless.
Of course every informed source needs face-time and column inches to sell her books. Every reporter needs news so he can become an informed source and get a book deal. So though we, and now you know they’re duds, we’re sticking with our informed sources; it’s a good arrangement for all concerned and there’s such a thing as loyalty.
Here’s what these nitwits are telling us is going to be the likely fallout from the Arab Spring, the neutralization of Bin Laden, the rising price of wheat, and the birth-rate in Bangladesh:
From a yurt on the fringes of the Gobi desert to a cowherd grazing his herd on the runway of Merauke airport in eastern Indonesia, to a spice market 11000 miles away on the Atlantic coast of Africa, Muslims are humming an old Bob Marley tune: Got to come together - and rule the world! A worldwide ummah or ‘consensus’ is emerging from Islam’s long time-out in the toilet of impotence and bad PR. Muslims are shouting out with brand-new pride: ‘We’re here, we inspire fear, get used to it!’ Islam is trending not towards a Caliphate but to a modern mega-state. Let's call it the U.S.I. (United States of Islam).
How will it look on the map? From Mongolia in the North-East through the ‘Stans, it will stretch to Iran and the Persian Gulf. Then west through Egypt, Libya, Algeria, Morocco and way down south to Nigeria in the west and Tanzania in the east.
All these nations are dangerously contiguous. Far Eastern Islamic nations: Malaysia, Indonesia, Bangladesh, Burma et al are also, but this Muslim clump is separated from the main land-mass by a long thin strip of Thailand. A few years of concerted breeding will easily change that, linking them up to Bangladesh and the main landmass. Then the USI will be one multi-headed Hydra with half the globe in its tentacles. It’ll gobble up Europe and India like Kibbles 'N Bits.
Should the USA be concerned about the USI? Well, yeah. The USI will have four times our population - more even than China. It will be 2.5 times our size. It will control 90% of the world’s oil exports (oil-rich Nigeria, Burma, Kazakhstan are all Muslim). And home to 70% of the Forbes 400 Richest Humans on Earth.
That’s what these people are telling us. They are informed and they are our sources. Even taken with a pinch of salt the U.S.I. thing makes for an interesting dinnertable discussion. Is it true? We haven't a clue.