By Robert D. Crane
May 28, 2015
It is more than high time to start thinking out of the box in order to redesign America’s so-called counter-terrorism strategy, which so far is creating the extremism that it is supposedly trying to counter.
On May 26th, 2015, the editorial board of the New York Times published an up-date, entitled “Afghan Minerals: Another Failure”, on an important centre of world dynamics, which Owen Lattimore examined 68 years ago in his book, Pivot of Asia. It seems that America is losing its bid against China (as well as Russia, India, and Iran) to get a cut of the as much as $30,000,000,000 worth of rare minerals in Pushtunistan, which consists of the largest part of both Afghanistan and Pakistan.
This world resource could be to global manufacturing in mid-century what oil and gas have been during the past century in powering the global economy. But where is concern for justice? Where is the land bank owned in equal shares of voting stock by every citizen of Pushtunistan and designed to bargain on these individuals’ behalf for the profits of development, which otherwise will go to the multinationals and foreign governments?
We now have the world’s greatest opportunity to put into practice the wisdom encapsuled in the simple slogan “Own or be owned!” Where is Qatar’s initial leadership on behalf of the Pushtuns, most of whom otherwise are known as the Taliban? Its younger generation could be the only voice for effective moderation and justice in the years and decades ahead?
As a life-long professional in long-range global forecasting and planning, including appointment as Deputy Director for Planning in the National Security Council in 1969 under President Richard Nixon, it seems to me that now is the time finally to eliminate the colonialist boundaries throughout the Middle East and North Africa in favor of confederations, especially in Iraq, Libya, Palestine, and Mali, as well as in Central and South Asia, especially in Pushtunistran and Burma. Failure to do so will create unbeatable opportunities for Da’esh (ISIS) and its clones to shut down civilization.
Next month, I am retiring as university professor emeritus at the Qatar Faculty of Islamic Studies and returning to America in order to write a book on holistic education, after spending several years as Director of the Centre for the Study of Islamic Thought and Muslim Societies, charged with studying the origins, state of play, and future scenarios for the so-called Arab Spring. My most probable scenario from the very beginning was an inevitable flame-out of the Arab Spring, which had been taken over by radicals everywhere except in Tunisia and Morocco, as described in my state-of-the-world article on the subject in the 2013-2014 edition of the Muslim 500.
The inevitably resulting desperation among large numbers of the younger generation, including some in America, has impelled them to join a utopian movement to destroy the existing world of the “One Percent” by creating what now has become known as the oxymoronic Islamic State or Da’esh. This is an exogenous variable not even contemplated by the run-of-the-mill experts on what the Qur’an calls hiraba but nowadays could best be called religious tribalism and modern terrorism.
Robert D. Crane is a university professor emeritus at the Qatar Faculty of Islamic Studies.