Globalisation, Technology and Terror

Dore Gold, Israel’s former ambassador to the UN, had an interesting piece in the Opinion Journal today.

The article, titled The Dangers of ‘Peace’ Making, essentially argues that efforts to bring about peace can backfire and make things worse.

Reading the article, I was struck by the following paragraphs (emphasis added):

In August 2005, the international community embraced Israel’s unilateral disengagement from Gaza, largely for these very reasons. The “occupation,” which they tirelessly argued was polarizing the Middle East, would be rolled back. The Palestinians would take over Israeli greenhouses and export cherry tomatoes to the European Union. They would pump gas from lucrative off-shore gas fields being developed by British Gas to bring in huge revenues to the Palestinian people.

Ms. Rice also pushed hard for the “Rafah Border Crossing Agreement,” which was supposed to facilitate trade between Gaza and the rest of the world while keeping terrorists out. EU observers were deployed.

But moderation did not ensue … Huge amounts of weapons and cash also poured into Gaza.

Gold continues further on talking about al Qaeda:

Its recruits have responded to Web clips of U.S. armored vehicles in Iraq exploding, or the beheading of Russian soldiers in Chechnya.

These are classic examples of globalisation, free trade and technology at work. Unfortunately for Condi Rice and the Europeans, they are working in reverse.

Instead of globalisation and technology working to provide hope for oppressed people in the Middle East, these phenomenon have been exploited with ruthless effectiveness by terrorists to advance their 7th century vision.

Incidentally, this is reminiscent of Thomas Barnett’s concept of ‘connectedness’ discussed in his book The Pentagon’s New Map. In it, Barnett describes the concept of the core (loosely speaking the integrated developed countries) and the non-integrated gap (that includes the Middle East). In Barnett’s view, the 21st century strategy for the US – as the only military hyperpower – should be to connect the gap to the core to bring relative security.

Instead, true to form, the Middle East provides a harsh reality check for those theories based on assumptions that global actors are not evil.

Perhaps those MacDonalds-shop-window-bashing anti-globalisation anarchic fruit-loops do have it right after all?



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