Tuesday, March 10, 2015

What the Military at Centcom have been Reading About ISIS

Camille Pecastaing, a senior associate professor of Middle East studies at the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University, has an important essay out at the Hoover Institute.

An EPJ reader emails about the essay:
A military friend (and converted Rothbardian) says this article has been making it’s way around CENTCOM.


I don't agree with everything written in the article, but there are many valuable points not made by many, A sampling:

In an age when science focuses on the quantifiable, few seem to pause to do the body count of Jihadist crimes. However tragic, on a historical scale, those atrocities fit in the range of accounting error. But ISIS found its voice through the inflamed narratives of Western media, and through apocalyptic analyses from a cottage industry of experts in think tanks and academia whose livelihood depends on the intensity of the risk they have to assess.


In 1950, the population of the Arab world was about 100 million; it passed 250 million in 1990; today it exceeds 400 million, to reach about 700 million by 2050. This expanding human mass has put extreme pressure on the social system. Stress fractures started to appear back in the 1970s, with the Lebanese civil war, the recurrent riots following IMF adjustment programs, and the emergence of radical Islamist movements. With the Arab spring, the system underwent a major tectonic shift. Some countries resisted, while others caved in. The only significant difference between them was the degree to which the states had put forward, in the previous decades, a social and economic model that could accommodate the demographic transition.

The central challenge for the Middle East is not Islamism. It is to find a niche in the global economy, to adopt a sustainable developmental model that is operational in the modern context.


The United States—by bailing out political systems that have long track records of inefficiency, corruption, and murder, and doing so in the name of defeating jihadism—is undermining the mechanism of competition that is at the very core of the American social model. Failed states are meant to go away. Injections of aid, in whatever form, keeps them going. Their dereliction will give jihadists new missions to fulfill. The wars of the Middle East would not be so intractable if they were not so subsidized.

1 comment:

  1. The entire Middle East is part of the US welfare state. I don't think that is emphasized enough. (We know it's part of the US warfare state). Neocons and Republicans are totally clueless about the nefarious impact of these welfare programs upon foreign countries. But, of course, Neocons and Republicans are clueless about everything. Middle Easterners require private property, enforcement of contracts and sound money (just like everyone). Neocons and Republicans don't get that either. And they really don't get that the entire program of US intervention is economically interventionist and "progressive". It is good that we are getting a cold bucket of ice water on our heads finally teaching us that these people aren't our friends or allies.

    But just think what the incentives of these welfare programs are doing to "the environment" and their impact upon "climate change".

    These are the great minds of our opponents, right and left.