24 May 2024 08:01 PM


Humayun Gauhar | 30 NOVEMBER, 2015

Humanity, the Biggest Loser in this “Great Global Game’

Europe under tight security, “IS seems to be winning”

ISIS is winning in the sense that it has got what it wants so far. Paris lives in fear. Belgium went into lockdown. By extension not only the public of the whole of Europe but also the people of its North American civilizational periphery live in a state of fear, confusion and uncertainty too. ISIS could strike anywhere, anytime, anyhow. Russia and NATO went into low-level contretemps after Turkey ratcheted up the heat by downing a Russian fighter-bomber. Ominously, Russia is biding its time, only meting out economic punishment incrementally to Turkey.

What used to be called the ‘Great Game’ between superpowers of a time – Iran, Britain, the Soviet Union, and the U.S.A. – trying to occupy Afghanistan has now become the ‘Great Global Game’ of the sole superpower trying spread American influence worldwide. They shouldn’t forget the Afghanistan was the victor in the original ‘Great Game’ that also still goes on, with India too now jumping into the fray to get a piece of the action in Afghanistan. Saudi Arabia, America’s main ally in the region, is rocked by instability and uncertainty, its future uncertain. Its other ally, Israel, looks on in utter disbelief, yet grinding on with its own perfidy towards hell. The only winner emerging is Iran and perhaps Bashar al Assad and his allies, Hezbollah and Russia. Who will be the winner in the ‘Great Global Game’? Methinks, there will be no winners in this one and humanity will be the biggest loser.

The seeming perfidy of invading Iraq on willfully fabricated evidence has put America and its European allies on what looks like a ‘Long Journey to Hell’ that shows no sign of ending. They don’t know either how to reverse time or how to get out of the mess they have created. They are rightly wary of putting boots on hell’s ground again because of President Obama fearing “unintended consequences and getting stuck in another quagmire in which ISIS would could them down one by one. The question is: are these really “unintended consequences” or part of a larger script, a larger plan to create deliberate chaos from which will emerge new Muslim states according to America’s desire by redrawing their boundaries drawn by Europe after WW II?

How has all this happened in what in terms of historical forces is but the blink of an eye? It has to come from lessons not learned, no understanding of history, no introspection and self-analysis, all driven by hubris-driven historic amnesia, looking at time in slices without any reference to previous slices of time.

To be fair, not just the American public but of Europe too is suffering from collective amnesia and then wondering why they have become victims of terrorism and a tidal wave of refugees. Hopefully they will get some appreciation of the kaleidoscopic terrorism and the largest refugee population in the world that Pakistan has suffered since 1980 caused by superpower conflict between the U.S. and the Soviet Union in Afghanistan followed by the hegemony drive of the victors after the Soviet Union imploded under the weight of its own hubris and ideological contradictions. Add to that India-sponsored State terrorism and they should get a better idea of what Pakistan has been going through for 35 years and continuing.

Terrorism, like all things, is a product of cause and effect, action and reaction, a dialectical process. The dialectic pervades human life, between spouses, parents and progeny, siblings, ethnic groups, religions and sects, the workplace, competition in the economy, between right wing and left, everything… In a global context, after the Cold War dialectic of the West Vs the USSR, there is now a Christian West versus the Muslim World dialectic, one the thesis, the other the antithesis. It can be said that the Christian-Muslim and Christian-Jew dialectic started when Pope Urban launched the Crusades from France driven by the myth of finding the ‘holy grail’, whatever it is. In truth is was a hegemonic drive to unite warring European princes to capture Jerusalem and its central regional trading position from Muslim-Jewish control. The die was cast for the Christian-Muslim and the Christian-Jew dialectical conflicts, the latter reaching its zenith in Hitler’s Nazi Germany. That led eventually to the Muslim-Jew conflict when the victors of the first and second World Wars created Israel on Palestinian land by evicting the rightful owners of Palestine. But it is a recent phenomenon. The first and only crusade that the Christian Crusaders won led to the streets of Jerusalem being ankle deep in Jewish-Muslim blood. This is not to detract from untold Muslim and Jewish cruelties in European and now Muslim lands. But here we are talking about the behaviour of Europe and later America in Muslim lands and how they stole their resources. I will one day write on what Muslim conquerors did even at danger to my life and limb. Do you think such things are ever forgotten? They go into the DNA.

I’m trying not to be one-sided for there is no such thing in a dialectical process; I’m only trying to uncover collective amnesia. Nor am I trying to blame or demonize entire nations or religions: the hegemony drive overhangs all. Blame for Mankind’s perfidious side has to be shared equally: no human is perfect; every human is littered with faults else they would not be human. Thus I find the word ‘Sapiens’, which means ‘wise’, for the human species in the genus ‘homo’ a bit of arrogant exaggeration.

If you have eyes, are without prejudice (near impossible) and have some knowledge of history you should be able to see what could well be the fall of yet another civilization in our times, the European. This is how the waves of history roll on, now at the crest, now at in a trough, now in high tide, now low. Lands and the people living on them don’t disappear but manmade states created along common philosophical-ideological-religious ideologies of the time do. And all civilizations fall because of hubris that brings on the notion that the hegemon is too powerful to be damaged, leading to decadence of thought, way of life and action. There always has to be an adversary else governments are unable to function. Thus the ‘Them’ Vs ‘Us’ thinking, each confident that he occupies the moral high ground. After WWII it was Western Capitalism and Liberal Democracy Vs Soviet Communism and Totalitarianism. After the Cold War we had the rare situation of a Sole Superpower that couldn’t function without an adversary, so it created an adversary of the Muslim World. Then it became the U.S. and its western allies versus the Muslim World, disunited, geographically and religiously fragmented between Arab Muslim and non-Arab (‘Ajami’) Muslims.

Hubris and intellectual damage have a symbiotic relationship: one feeds the other in an unending downward spiral to rock bottom of intellectual and cultural decadence, hypocrisy and complacency. Hubris-driven intellectual decadence and hypocrisy happens in powerful countries with a modern and dynamic civilization that are still not advanced enough not to deny the same freedoms and rights that they cherish for themselves to others. But those rights are not cast in stone – they never can be – and the moment danger is sensed, out come states of emergency and lockdown and all those rights that they give to their own citizens go out the window until control is reestablished. They have still not progressed to understanding that the time to tame Man’s innate the hegemony drive has come because institutions made after WWII to prevent wars have failed. In fact, they now ‘sanction’ them. Reason? They were made by hegemons after the Second World War basically to prevent more European wars. Like humankind’s sex drive has been controlled by laws and social mores, which evaporate when there is societal breakdown like after a natural calamity, for instance, or wars, ‘democracy’ has tamed the ‘last man standing’ custom within some states but not between states. With much greater knowledge about the world and how peoples are living in it because of the information highway of the worldwide web, very little can be hidden. So it is time to replace the basis of civilization from the hegemonic ‘Them Vs Us’ to the ‘Live and Let Live’ philosophy in which there is equity for everyone based on the understanding that the era of conquering territories for economic advantage has passed and the era of conquering world market shares has arrived. Such realization hardly ever comes with common sense but after the decline and crash of civilizations. Now its seems European Civilization and its western American periphery is crashing, a civilization born of the philosophies, discoveries, methods and systems of earlier civilizations, mainly Athenian and Muslim.

History is an ongoing stream of action and reaction, cause and effect. But if you only take to looking at history in slices of time, seeing the effects but not the causes, it leads to historical amnesia of governments and then to collective amnesia of the public driven mainly by babbling media and academia that push those policies and hide previous mistakes to create false public perceptions. Media worldwide have become a Tower of Babel. America stands out in the collective amnesia stakes – “history begins now” a deputy secretary of defense told Pakistan’s ISI chief after 9/11 – and Europe is going neck and neck parroting the same babble.

This makes it important for the former European colonies to reconsider the European philosophies, ideologies, social constructs and political and economic systems that they have slavishly and mindlessly imposed upon themselves which, being alien, don’t empower their people and lift them from poverty and then wonder why they don’t work. In truth it is part deliberate to protect the power, privileges and pelf of small Third World ruling classes and institutions.

The West’s terrible habit of looking at history in slices of time distracts from the causal relationship and our analysis and understanding of it. Thus, while considering terrorism ‘they’ would like the world to forget the reasons why it is there and their own role in it. The great Chinese statesman Zhou Enlai said that, “one of the delightful things about Americans is that they have absolutely no historical memory” while Gore Vidal called the U.S.A. the ‘United States of Amnesia’. If the periphery suffers from collective amnesia there is no way the centre cannot; thus Europe too suffers from acute deliberately created convenient amnesia that they impose on their people’s minds. For example, in discussing the Paris terrorist attacks, no one is discussing Frances past role in Asia, Arabia and Africa.