World War IV
War on Terrorism is actually World War IV. Most people don't
appreciate this because of the asymmetrical nature of this war. Nation
states are pitted against terrorist organizations and not against
other states like in previous World Wars.
In a way,
asymmetrical warfare is more dangerous because the enemy could be
living amongst us. These men are eager to die so as to be rewarded
with Paradise with its carnal pleasures. This is so unlike World War
III (i.e. the Cold War) where the free world fought the repressive
They wanted to live
and can be deterred by Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD). Now we are
fighting a bunch of medieval mad men who are not afraid of MAD. What
if they get hold of a nuclear device? There are loose nukes in the
former Soviet Union. Pakistan has nukes and also plenty of terrorists
and their supporters.
Leader of N Korea is unpredictable and may sell his nukes (he
claims to have them) to terrorists. It would not be difficult for a
terrorist to smuggle a nuke or two into any western country with their
porous borders. If drug smugglers can bring in drugs by the tons, why
can’t terrorists bring in a dozen or more nukes?
But there are also
similarities with earlier World Wars. The chief similarity is that WW4
like WW3 (i.e. the Cold War) has an ideological component. In their
own respective ideologies, both sides think that they are the good
guys. On the one side are the people who believe that democracy with
all its accompanying civil liberties is the best way for human beings
to organize their societies.
The other side
spits at democracy and aims for the world to be ruled in accordance to
Allah's laws. Democracy means that man is supreme because it is man
who makes the laws through elections. The other side believes that it
is God who must be supreme in the world.
It is Allah’s
laws that must be obeyed and these laws were revealed to their Prophet
1,400 years ago. These militants believe that the world is divided
into darul Harb and darul Islam. It is the duty of good Muslims to
fight till the whole world becomes darul Islam. Allow me to call this
ideology Islamism. For a more detailed insight into the roots of
Islamic militancy, please read my article, “Looking for Saladdin”.
In World War III (ie
the Cold War), there was also an ideological component. The
Communists/Marxists preached an ideology of equality and class
struggle to create a Communist utopia. This too had strong appeal for
many people in the world. The US and its allies did its best to prove
that this is false and tried to show why their vision of the future is
But in World War
IV, the US has abandoned ideological warfare. It restricts its
criticism to only militant Islam and insists that they got their
religion wrong. Bush tells us that Islam means peace. No doubt he has
good reasons for doing so. He needs the help of moderate Muslim
leaders like Musharraf and Megawati to pursue the terrorists. He
cannot alienate them. The war in Afghanistan could not be fought
without Musharraf's help. Perhaps there is still hope in some quarters
that Islam can be reformed.
But the boundary
between Islam and Islamism is fuzzy. Most Muslims are not militants
and most disapprove of the terrorist tactics pursued by the militants.
But the teachings of Islam make it difficult for the moderate Muslims
to wage war against the terrorists. It should be clear to a casual
observer that the majority of Muslims will instinctively rally to
support fellow Muslims when they come under attack no matter how
unworthy or how violent these Muslims are. Thus when the US attacked
Afghanistan, which was ruled by the brutal Taleban, Muslims all over
the world protested. The same thing happened when Iraq was attacked.
killed more fellow Muslims than archenemy Israel did, yet many Muslims
volunteered to fight for him against Coalition forces. Have you
wondered why there was hardly a peep from the Muslim world when Saddam
slaughtered fellow Muslims? If Christians were like them, the US would
not have interfered in Yugoslavia to save Muslim Bosnians from
No doubt Muslim
anger over the two wars will swell the ranks of Islamic terrorist
organizations. They prefer a fellow Muslim (no matter how bad) to an
infidel (no matter how good). The behavior of Muslims can be explained
by the teachings of Islam, which puts Muslim brotherhood higher than
what is right or wrong. Also, the Koran is peppered with verses like
this one, which encourages enmity against infidels:
neither the Jews nor the Christians for your friends. They are friends
with one another. Whoever of you seeks their friendship shall become
one of their number. God does not guide the wrongdoers.” See Koran
The best way to
understand Islam is to view it as a warrior’s faith designed to
support Arab imperialism in the 7th, 8th and 9th centuries. (See my
article, “Once were warriors”.) That is why apostasy ranks so high
as an offence and worthy of the death penalty. They see it as a
defection to the enemy.
That is also why
they reflexively support monsters like Saddam in the Gulf War II and
are so ready to believe the most preposterous conspiracy theories. To
them, a Muslim in any confrontation with infidels can do no wrong and
must be supported. Thus, even the moderates cannot be counted on to
support the forces of democracy in World War IV.
Islam also teaches
Muslims to see themselves as part of a nation of Muslims who happen to
live in different countries – even in non-Muslim ones. Their loyalty
to the nation state is subordinated to the loyalty to the Ummah. This
is so even if they are second or third generation British or American
or whatever. Each new generation will be taught by Islam to maintain
its primary loyalty to the Ummah. Even new converts switch loyalty.
See what happened
to Walker, the American Taleban and that Sergeant in the 101st
Airborne. Thus Muslims living in non-Muslim countries are a potential
fifth column. (But they are not the only fifth column. The left wing
in US and Europe with their PC (politically correct) ideology is also
giving aid and comfort to the enemy just as they did in the Cold War.)
In World War IV,
the US has handicapped itself by making false declarations such as
“Islam is peace”. All world wars have at least three components
– the military, ideological and the economic. In World War III, the
ideological component was more important than the military one. In
World War I and II, it was the military component that was more
important. Yet by praising Islam, Bush and Blair have already given up
the ideological warfare without firing a shot.
You cannot defeat
Islamism without defeating Islam. It is like trying to fight Communism
while praising Marxist economic theories! In the Cold War, the US and
its allies did not hesitate to argue that Marxism is a false ideology.
Marx's ideas are wrong and cannot lead mankind to a better future. The
democratic world must make the same case against Islam.
cannot win without relying heavily on the military component, which
means more bloodshed. Perhaps we cannot win at all. Remember what Sun
Wu said in his classic, “The Art of War”. The side with the higher
moral standing is more likely to win. To do this, a leader must
convince his people that their cause is just. You cannot persuade your
people to make exertions if they do not understand what they are up
against. Thus the burden of ideological warfare falls on groups like
FFI people are a
special breed. They are the “irregulars” in this ideological war.
The “regulars” of course refer those soldiers in uniforms funded
by taxpayer's money. “Irregulars” refer to fighters that sprang up
from the grassroots like the minutemen in the US Revolutionary War
against Britain or the Spanish guerrillas that fought Napoleon.
Our weapon is the
pen and not the sword. But we must get the message out to both Muslims
and non-Muslims. The Soviet Union imploded because the people there
realized that Communism does not work. The Voice of America, BBC and
others understood the nature of the beast and brought the message home
to the Communist bloc. We must do the same for Islam. We must convince
Muslims that Islam is false just as Communism was false. Both cannot
give mankind a better future.
If we fail, WW4
could turn out to be a “hot” war like WW2 and not a relatively
bloodless war like the Cold War. Nobody wants that. What would happen
if a Muslim terrorist group gets hold of a nuclear device and destroys
New York City? I think the US will retaliate by destroying Mecca
because Islam cannot survive the destruction of Mecca.
The city is so
central to their faith. Without Mecca, a Muslim cannot practice the
Haj – one of the five pillars of Islam. Muslims are also required to
pray five times a day facing Mecca. But praying five times a day to
radioactive rubble somehow seems meaningless. They will question why
Allah did not save the city with his angels and the loss of faith
would be sudden. There is a precedent of sorts for this.
In the WW2, the
Japanese believed their Emperor to be a God. See my article, “The
Mujahideen and the Samurai”. They were even afraid to look at him
lest they be blinded. So they turned their eyes away whenever he
passed by in his motorcade. They also believed themselves to be
descended from Gods and so are invincible. As what General Yamashita
told a defeated British General after the fall of Singapore, “We are
descended from the Gods. You are descended from monkeys. In a war
between Gods and monkeys, the Gods will win.”
Perhaps it was
their beliefs that gave them the courage to attack the US even though
the US economy was 15 times the size of Japan's at that time. All
these beliefs quickly crumbled when Japan was defeated and occupied.
Today, no Japanese believes that their Emperor is a God. Of course I
don't want to see any city getting nuked. Belief in Communism as a
superior system crumbled without recourse to nuclear war. Islam may do
the same if the message goes out to the Muslims in time.
The third component
of WW4 is economics. Oil is the only major commodity produced in the
Muslim world. But it is a very essential item. Islamic radicalism
started to rise after the 1973 oil embargo where oil prices quadrupled
overnight. The wealthy Saudis began to spread their intolerant version
of Islam by building Madrassahs and mosques around the world.
Oil production is
expected to peak sometime in the next 5 to 25 years. When oil peaks,
oil prices will rise sharply unless we find a replacement. Also the
Gulf States will account for a larger percentage of world production
– putting the world in a precarious situation. World War IV can be
won if we learn a lesson from World War I.
In WW1, the British
took a gamble and converted their navy to run on oil even though
Britain did not produce oil. The German High Seas fleet was mainly a
coal burning fleet. Oil made the British ships faster, had greater
range and more quickly refueled. In 1916, the two navies met at the
Battle of Jutland and the British won. The North Sea was under British
control for the remainder of the war. To win WW4, we must find a
replacement for oil just as the British replaced coal with oil.
Bush is trying to
lessen dependence on Saudi oil by liberating Iraqi oil. But in the
long run, we need alternate source of energy.
In the First World
War, the free world fought against Royal dictators. In the Second
World War, the democracies fought against Fascist right wing
dictators. In the Cold War, the free world struggled against Communist
dictators. Now in World War IV, freedom is again under threat from
would be Islamist dictators. Victory would depend on how well we learn
the lessons from the previous World Wars.