The USA promotes a fundamentalist catastrophe
The 5th article in the series "Political Catastrophes".

By waging a war against Afghan tribes the USA promotes the coming of a wrong catastrophe, a fundamentalist Islamic revolution.

In my last catastrophe article I introduced the theory that five moving factors and a promising idea about a future society can cause a fundamental change in society. The Theory of Catastrophes can be used in discussions about the how and why of fundamental changes in our complicated world. A different paradigm about a new future society and the five factors make clear why the chance is growing that in part of our world a wrong catastrophe can occur, a jump in the direction of a fundamentalist Islamic society. This catastrophe is stimulated by the disastrous American (and Western) policy.

To get a catastrophe a new paradigm is needed, a vague idea about the organisation of the future society. As new paradigm I propose a society based on the activity of alternating involved minorities instead of the predominantly inactive majorities in our elitist democracy. In the Moslem world another paradigm is growing, a fundamentalist Islamic society in which people have to behave according to fixed rules. Autonomous human activity will be supplanted by obedience to (religious) leaders.

By taking the five factors of my last article it will be clear that the Western involvement in Afghanistan can lead to a catastrophe.

In the first place the awareness is growing that the present society is failing. The American bombardment and invasion of Afghanistan and the suppression of freedom struggles elsewhere is a considerable contribution to the increasing strength of this factor. Impotence against the almighty West and despair over the hardly changing situation in Moslem countries are accumulating. The need for something else is growing.

In the second place the autonomous activity of masspeople is growing. In this case the paradigm is different and so this factor changes. The Islamic paradigm demands an obedient mass and so the second factor becomes the growing activity of the masses, controlled and led by Islamic leaders. In the last twenty years fundamentalism in the Moslem World has grown enormously. The West has some influence on this factor as is seen for example in the Israel-Palestine conflict where more secular guerrilla movements have been eclipsed by more fundamentalist ones.

In the third place the centralised power structure is weakening. The power of the rich and elitist Islamic governments is dwindling and the support by the West undermines further the strength of these corrupt regimes. The unconditionally Western support of the Shah and the rise of Islamic fundamentalism in Iran were clearly connected to each other and this was one of the important factors that led to the Khomeiny revolution.

In the fourth place there is growing hope that a new society is possible in the foreseeable future. The defeat of the Taleban-regime and the chasing away of the Bin Laden group from Afghanistan seem to reduce this factor. The effect of the Western action in Afghanistan will however be temporary. It is possible that the Bin Laden group will become stronger because it is released of the burden to support the Taleban and can now concentrate on the building of a terrorist network of people that already live in Western countries. Some small successes will strengthen the fourth factor. This can happen when a fundamentalist government replaces one of the present Moslem governments for example after American bombs devastate Iraq. But the self-confidence of Moslems will also be enhanced when the overwhelming Western power is again attacked in its own home.

In the fifth place the general knowledge of masspeople is growing. This factor changes also somewhat because the Islamic paradigm does not ask for general knowledge but for knowledge of the Islamic religion. Then obedience of the masses is stressed instead of autonomous knowledge and activity of individuals that is needed in a society in which alternating minorities are important. The Western policy does support the growth of the fifth factor because the connection of the West with corrupt Islamic regimes promotes non-Western Islamic education in Koran schools.

I have to conclude that fundamentalist Islamic revolutions are coming nearer also because of Western policies. At the same time the struggle against terrorism hinders a more positive catastrophe in the direction of a society with more autonomous, creative people because the Western elite restricts the freedom of the individual Western citizen under the pretext of combating terrorism.

The future is not bright when this will not change, but behind every cloud the sun is shining.

Joost van Steenis (December 19 2001)

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6. Beyond democracy
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