RE: A Hobbeseian world

I pointed out yesterday how the world tends toward chaos, disorder and lawlessness, not peace and harmony.Comes now a lead editorial of the Wall Street Journal that observes Sudan’s murderous history and makes the same point. Cataloguing the failures of Europe and of other Muslim states to halt the genocide there, the WSJ points out that only the United States has taken any sort of steps that hold promise of peace. The lesson?

The lesson of Sudan is that the world is a Hobbesian place outside the U.S. sphere of influence. Sudan’s social contract is straight out of “Leviathan”; citizens are guaranteed security only if they abide by the absolute authority of a monarch.The real problem, as everyone knows but no one will admit, is Sudan’s murderous regime. But Mr. Annan and company can’t abide regime change, and in any case the U.S. military is too preoccupied to make that happen. That means we’re left with diplomatic pressure and visits like Mr. Powell’s, which are better than nothing but don’t solve the long-term problem.

It is fashionable these days to express distaste for American “unilateralism” and “hegemony.” The unfolding catastrophe in Darfur offers a chilling view of what the alternative really looks like.

Thomas Hobbes was the philosopher who said that the natural state of human life is “nasty, brutish and short.”

The US has not stopped the murders there, but we may be kicking the regional powers into action, something they have avoided for two decades, while innocents died.

[Via One Hand Clapping]

Last Sunday I got into a discussion with some people about Iraq, terrorism, genocide, and the lack of will to stop it. I was somewhat surprised by their knowledge about the various genocides of the last two decades. You really have to work to find information about genocides and the national media continues to be negligent in this area. They knew that opportunities to stop genocides were missed but the responsibilities of the major players were ambiguous to them. I guess they were surprised when I tied together the problems with averting genocides to the problems with controlling terrorism. The UN and Western Europe have been particularly adverse to meddling in “civil” wars even when the situation is rapidly getting out of control and the only opportunity exists to avoid massive loss of life. It is my belief that preventing genocides should be one the UN’s primary missions. The UN sees itself as a father figure. The nice gentle father who loves and encourages everyone. The reality is that they are a poor father figure. When their children desparately need some discipline to grow up healthy, they are absent. Instead of helping promote healing before the conflict gets out of control the UN and the rest of the world is relegated to burying the bodies and tending to the wounded. The damage from the inaction of the few who can make a difference will take a generation or more to fade away.

The root cause of terrorism in the Middle East is the ineffectiveness of governments to be provide jobs and hope. I am sorry to say this but the people in the Middle East are jealous of the large middle classes in the Western world. High unemployment, diminished hope for the future, and jealousy is the breeding ground for terrorists. When more people are employed and poverty is diminished, terrorists will have a harder to time recruiting new members.

It is my belief that most of the people in the Middle East believe that a middle class lifestyle is a reasonable objective in their lifetime. A participatory government is the most effective way to achieve a large middle class. The problem is that an effective model government that incorporates participatory government does not exist at this timefor Middle East countries. There are some potential role models in the Middle East and the US is going to force its version in Iraq. A side benefit of the war in Iraq is the increased willingness of Middle East governments to review and revise their governing style. They have been forced to make a choice and they have chosen to expand the freedoms and opportunities of their people while surpressing terrorists. They paying the price in blood as the terrorists try to topple the weaker governments. Spain has undoubtably given the terrorists greater hopes for success.

So what does this have to do with Iraq. I believe that Iraq under Saddam was a powder keg looking for a spark. Saddam had actively surpressed his people and his grasp on the disadvantaged in his country was precarious. Poverty and hunger was rampamt. Iraq was and still is a potentially great breeding ground for terrorists. Iraq had all of the tools of war the terrorists desired. Although Saddam may not have liked the idea of working with the terrorists, I think a deal was inevitable. Saddam could not keep control of his country without the terrorists leaving him alone. From the perspective of the US a regime change was necessary for its safety and the safety of the world. From the perspective of the people in the Middle East, regime change is a risk but a risk made more palatable by the hope of a middle class lifestyle in their lifetime.