AMMAN,Jordan, Thursday, Nov. 10 - Terrorist bombs ripped nearly simultaneouslythrough three popular hotels here on Wednesday night, killing dozens andwounding more than 100…
By Thursday morning, no group had claimedresponsibility for the attacks, but suspicion immediately fell on Abu Musabal-Zarqawi -- the Jordanian leader of an insurgent group in Iraq, Al Qaedain Mesopotamia, who in 2004 was sentenced, in absentia, to death by a Jordanianmilitary court for his role in killing an American diplomat two years earlier…
But hey, look on the bright side.
We still have al-Zargawi isolated in the eastern hemisphere, and he hasn't killed an American diplomat since 2002!
And here's the best news about our Global War on Terror: it can't be too much longer before we run out of things to do wrong.
Recenthistory strongly suggests that there's only one viable military solutionthat would solve both our terrorism and energy problems: use our nucleararsenal to turn the entire Middle East into a solar panel. But heck, eventhe Bush gang might balk at putting that much radioactive material into theatmosphere. And if we weaned the rest of the world off petroleum overnight,Dick and Dubya's big oil buddies might have to go off corporate welfare andonto the other kind.
But short of something that drastic, militaryaction has been counterproductive in the struggle against terrorism, andthe invade-depose-occupy strategy of Iraq has proved disastrous.
The Middle East is the most volatile wild card in our "Leveraged Balance" next world order. North Korea and Africa cannot be ignored; indeed, the restof the world needs to ensure that those two entities don't effectively allythem with the Middle East.
But it's the part of the world that encompassesthe old Ottoman and Persian Empires that presents the largest concern tothe "rational" world. It is, and can be expected to remain for some time,the heart of international terrorism, and the readily accessible fossil fuelin the area won't somehow miraculously migrate to other parts of the globe.
As we noted earlier, a military invasion and occupation of the entirearea is not an option. The U.S. can't keep Iraq under control, and there'sno reason to think that even with the full commitment and cooperation ofthe entire rest of the world we could possibly maintain security and managethe entire region.
Ignoring the Middle East is an obvious non-option. Pretending the problem isn't there won't make it go away.
Ourbest option, it seems, is to adopt a "coax and contain" strategy that toa large extent will resemble the method we used to reign in and eventuallycollapse the Soviet Union. The rational world would use a form of stick-and-carrotdiplomacy that rewards nations and other political groups in the Middle Eastfor moving toward some semblance of modernity and isolates the ones thatwon't.
The tricky part of a coax and contain strategy toward theMiddle East is that the "rational world" will have to act in a rational manner,which would be something new in the history of world events.
Forcoax and contain to work, a core contingent of the major, balance, and regionalpowers would have to make a firm commitment to it. At least two of the majorsneed to buy in from the outset, the most likely candidates being the U.S.and the E.U. China might join at a later date, but only after sitting onthe sidelines long enough to see how things are going. Among the balancepowers, England and Japan will probably participate initially. Russia mightopt to do like the Chinese--perhaps "agree in principle" but hold off ontotal commitment until the strategy seems to be working.
As thefirst major undertaking of the Leveraged Balance World Order, the coax andcontain strategy would illustrate how a regional power can decisively influenceglobal events. By embracing the coax and contain accord, India could bethe decisive factor in it's success. It is the largest economic and militarypower on the periphery of the "troubled area." India has a long historywith England and Russia, and is a next-door neighbor to China. By assuminga key role in coax and contain, India could elevate itself to the statusof a global balance power, a "carrot" that may in itself be sufficient motivationfor the country to go "all in."
Yes, this may sound likea pie-in-the-sky vision of a general breakout of peace, love, and understandingamong political entities that have seldom acted completely rationally intheir dealings with each other. But consider this: what's the alternative? Keep on going the way we have been? The modern world squabbling with itselfwhile a bronze-age culture overwhelms it?
Next: Realpolitik and Mutually Assured Prosperity and Security.