If Islamic State is destroyed, who will we pick as an enemy next? After all, if we don't have an enemy we shall not be able to keep all this 'security' in place and without that kind of coercion, how is the population going to be kept under control? Anarchy might break out. So, surely, we shall soon find another enemy. Who will it be? The Taliban-Al Qaeda alliance has been showing signs of come-back recently, so perhaps we shall go back to fighting them. While everybody has been watching Syria, they have been taking over chunks of Afghanistan. This kind of 'game' can, of course, go on indefinitely. One cannot be (or perhaps one should say 'bomb') everywhere at the same time. While you concentrate on one place, with all of the public relations that it takes to make people hate people, some other place is out of view. While you are not watching, the tide is turning.

Actually, Al Quaeda seem to have learnt some lessons - ones that organisations like Hizbollah learnt a long time ago - which are basically to do with the fact that if you want to 'win' you have to make at least some people like you. So charity work may be just as effective as fighting. Unity is also important. The Taliban had the setback of fighting among themselves for a while but while that is still going on it seems now to have become a side-show. Ousting the 'government' forces from local areas and thereby capturing their American equipment has become the main activity.

If Western attention does swing back to Afghanistan, that will tend to give the Russians a free hand in the Middle East. In alliance with the Shiite cause they could well establish a close bond with a Syria-Iraq-Iran axis which is already in the making, which would achieve for them an important long term strategic goal of breaking the American 'seige'. By this latter term I mean the way that for half a century now, America (at considerable cost) has kept Russia completely surrounded by nuclear weapons pointing into the country from every direction (and we wonder why thy don't love us). Creating a gap in this ring by connecting the Russian sphere of influence with a band of country stretching from the Mediterranean to the Arabian seas would be a major achievement. So major, in fact, that one assumes that the West will do everything possible to prevent it from happening. However, as I just said, one cannot be everywhere and it may just be that America is now just too over-stretched to maintain such a totally dominant position indefinitely.

Of course, there will always be other candidates for the 'next enemy' slot. China must be on the list. However, a 'cold war' style confrontation may no longer serve the social control needs within Western countries so well as it used to do. The great advantage of having one or other of the Islamic factions as enemy is that they engage in terrorism so there is then every reason to maintain stringent surveillance and security not just in far away places but back home too which makes governance and social control so much easier.

What we really need to try to understand is what would happen if peace really did ever break out and how we would collectively cope with the resulting chaos. There was, perhaps, a small glimpse of this during the period of 'flower power' when reaction to the end of the second world war had created a generation of young people who were not impressed by the pressure of the cold war and decided to start 'doing their own thing'. This was soon put a stop to and business as usual returned with the Vietnam War and conscription. Putting them in the army proved to be an effective antidote. But if there were no war, what would we do with them? And what would happen then? Does it bear thinking about?

No, probably even if there were some opportunity for world peace, it would be considered too dangerous an option by those with the power to do anything about it. So until we solve this most basic but aparently, so far, completely unsolvable problem of how to live in peace, the business of always having an enemy to hate will continue and as the current one is showing some signs of wilting the question is who next?

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  • Thanks, Robert. Yes, I think the ordinary prson feels helpless in the4 face of such massive forces. Of course, if humans do try to take control of them we can be sure of some disasters as well as successes.

  • Who next?  It may well be nature- officially.  As our ecological crisis intensifies there are two very different directions activists have been taking in response:  for humans to withdraw from much of our planet to let it heal and for massive geo engineering projects to do the healing.

    I met  David Spratt last week who co authored climate code red and is heavily involved with corporate approaches to change. He sees our only hope of mitigating this disaster is with geo engineering. That advanced discussions with powerful groups including the Democratic party in the USA are about turning around the global financial collapse by entering a 'world war' on climate change with massive geo engineering projects to recapture the carbon and to refreeze the Arctic, for starters.

    This is essentially a war on nature.  There are already many such projects being undertaken and we do have the technology and understandings to make dramatic changes to natural processes such as climate.  But once initiated this could never be abandoned. We would need to 'direct' these once natural processes.

     We inadvertently began geo engineering with the low level pollutants industry puts in our atmosphere each day.  They reflect solar heat and have cooled our planet by as much as three degrees.  This is called global dimming and as soon as we stop polluting, we have the extra heat.  Imagine the situation with a world panicking with the realisation of what is to come desperately turning to the corporate world to  focus all activity on controlling nature.  A highly likely development in the very near future.

  • Yes, indeed!

    The irony of your argument is that they are the same


  • I guess that there are two different kinds of enemies. There are the enemies one wants to eliminate and there are the enemies that one can't do without.

  • Hi David

    Great post.

    One thing missing is the nature of the underlying economic system. Under Capitalism there is ALWAYS an enemy....the poor and the unemployed. Or, if you are poor and unemployed, thd owners of Capital....currently portrayed as the 1%

    THAT was the threat of Flower Power. Despite how it was portrayed in thd media, the war against Hippies was about theuir attack on Capitalism....little to do with free love or long hair


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