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From Versailles to Dubai

Two interesting subjects are discussed briefly at American Future. In looking back at the geopolitical landscape wrought by the World Wars of the 20th century, Marc Schulman first wonders, "What Century Is It?"

We now know that the spread of terrorism to our shores and to the countries of Western Europe is connected to the Balkan wars of the 1990s. Having booted the Soviets out of Afghanistan, the unemployed mujahadeen migrated to the Balkans to assist their Muslim brethren in their fight against the Serbs. So, long before 9/11 (and before the 1998 African embassy bombings), Al-Qaeda was in Europe, albeit in southeast Europe. That's where the Clash of Civilizations began. At the time, we didn't see it that way: it was in the Balkans (so who really cares), and the aggressors were the Serbs (not exactly the banner-carriers of Western civilization).

What, then, are we witnessing? Nothing less than the unraveling of the world created by the Treaty of Versailles. ...

In Moving Forward, Dr. Demarche looks back at the not-so-distant past with deep regret at how the Dubai Ports World situation was (mis)handled.

The idea that any other foreign interest should not be involved in managing our infrastructure is probably the correct one (setting aside the fact that we currently lack the ability to manage our own ports). Our handling of this issue, however, was childish and dangerous. We singled out Dubai from among the many nations managing our ports because it is an Arab nation, plain and simple. What message do you think the average citizen on the "Arab street" took away from this? The fact that no rational voice arose from either side of the political aisle calling for a calm appraisal of the situation does not bode well for the future relationship between the United States and the Arab world. While I am well aware that Dubai is not a model of democracy or freedom, it is far and away one of the most liberal countries in the region, and our military presence in the Middle East depends in large part on our relationship with the government of the emirate. ...

American Future is an especially apt name today. How can you possibly know where you're going if you've know idea where you have been?