Sunday, February 19, 2006

10 Greatest Dangers to the Western World

Last week, while writing about the Cheney incident, and my belief that too much time and ink had been devoted to it, I started noting in this blog and others the various other threats in the world today that I believe deserve more attention that an accidental shooting that should not have any long term effects on the victim. And thus a new topic was born: what are the greatest threats to the world today? Well, this has blossomed into a grander idea, which I am going to implement here!

So I determined to make a list of the 10 greatest threats in the world, each with a short blurb about the issue I see. Then, every week or two I will update the list, accounting for the ever-changing nature of our political situation and the new dangers facing the world. Plus, every couple of days or so I will create a post for one of the issues, which will include not only a more in-depth review of the issue, but also a link to the best articles I’ve read on the issue of late. I’m hoping that others will chime in with any posts that I may have missed.

It should be noted that what I consider the greatest dangers in the world today would vary greatly from the views on the same subject by other people. For example, I’m sure that someone from Israel would have a very different list from me. And if that list is vastly different from mine, imagine the list of a person from Iran. Or North Korea. Or Russia. Dangers are all relative to the environment of the commentator. Still, I’m sure many people from around the world will identify with the threats I list in this post.

So, without further ado, my list of the 10 greatest dangers to the West in the world today:

1) The growing divide between Islam and the Western world – The protests over the Mohammed cartoons are only a small indication of the growing rift between the Muslim community and the various communities of the Western world. Whether a wedge is purposefully being driven between these two peoples or whether the rift is a natural occurrence as a result of the cultural and ideological views of the two people is a matter of opinion, something to be debated, and will be covered when we look at the issue in more depth. But the divide is real, and it is growing. Should it continue to grow, the result will eventually be World war.

2) Mahmoud Ahmadinejad/Iran – In my mind, issues 1 and 2 are greatly linked, as Ahmadinejad is the individual most responsible for driving the wedge between Islam and the West, and as Iran is where he proves that he can compete with the Western world, thus pulling supporters behind him. Of course, that is only my view, but I think what is definitive to most people in the West is that Ahmadinejad’s nuclear program and the way he is toying with the IAEA presents a real danger to any sort of stability that the world could achieve. Add in Ahmadinejad’s desire to bring about the apolcolypse, and Iran presents a very real danger to the Western world.

3) Global warming – At the American Associate for the Advancement of Science meeting this past week, they announced that the melting of the icebergs in Southern Greenland had increased by 5x the estimates provided by global warming experts, and that the drastic decrease in surface temperature in the Northern hemispheres of the United States and Europe will be much sooner then expected, perhaps in the next 30-40 years. In the interim, storm sizes increase and become more turbulent as nature tries to equilibrate. Of course, this timeline may continue to decrease as we burn more fossile fuels, and this is only one effect of many associated with global warming. This may be the only danger that all people share.

4) Terrorism – Many people would rate this #1 or 2, but I see terrorism as a lesser threat than the previous posts because it doesn’t really threaten the same type of destruction as the previous issues; terrorism threatens to destroy our sense of security and our freedom, as opposed to threatening ultimate destruction. After my years in Israel, I have come to see terrorism as a psychological threat rather than a physical threat. Yes, terrorism can kill many people, but the bigger danger lies in the fear injected into the everyday actions that make up our lives. I could easily see terrorists being used as a weapon of one of the threats, but whether it’s a threat to our existence is something we can analyze together.

5) Nuclear North Korea – While the world focuses on the turbulence in the Middle East, North Korea moves closer and closer to becoming a nuclear power, a situation which would great disrupt the balance of power in the Pacific Rim. Particularly volatile in this case is China, who is in no hurry to have a nuclear neighbor, and worries that North Korea’s rise in power will have a serious impact on Hong Kong’s quest for sovereignty. Not to mention that North Korea’s motives remain largely a mystery and that they are no friend to the United States and most European countries, and you have a situation that could seriously threaten the Western way of life.

6) Israel/Palestine – Perhaps the most visible front of the conflict between Islam and the West. Had you asked me three months ago, I would have said that the both sides were inching, very slowly, towards peace. But today we are moving in the wrong direction. I took the election of Hamas as a desire to have a representative who could bargain for the Palestinian people from a position of power, while others took it as a symbol that Palestine was looking for a military solution instead of a diplomatic one. Unfortunately, we may never know the truth, as it appears likely that Israel and the US will never negotiate with Hamas to even determine their intentions.

7) Pakistan/India – If Israel and Palestine are the most visible front of the conflict between Islam and the West, Pakistan and India are the most combustible. Both countries are nuclear powers, and only their relative power to each other keeps the two countries in check. But that balance of power is shifting, flowing with the relative power of the Islamic world to the Western world. And because the balance of power does change so frequently, one can’t help but wonder if whatever storm is coming between these two cultures will begin between these two powers or end between these them.

8) Russia’s Insecure Weapons System – The fall of the Soviet empire left a vacuum in the power structure in Russia and the surrounding countries, which in many cases led to corruption in the governments of those countries. Organized crime holds much of the power in Russia today, and in nations surrounding Russia. This leaves the weapons of the ex-Soviet Union countries as potentially insecure or in the hands of crime-related organizations. The potential of enriched uranium being sold on the open market is but one of a number of scary scenarios involved with the rapid deterioration of the super-power.

9) Dilution of Freedom – The easiest way to destroy a society is to dilute the principles it stands for. It is for this reason that many think that Israel is doomed, as it had to abandon the religious principles which Israel was founded upon to survive. But more dangerous is that the US and Europe are now abandoning the basic principles which make a democracy worth fighting for. In the United States, we have seen Bush attack the Right to Privacy with the Patriot Act and Freedom of the Press as well as Freedom to Congregate Peacefully with the arrests of people protesting the war in Iraq. Now some countries in Europe, as well as the United States, as denounced the Freedom of the Press after protests began regarding the cartoons of Mohammed. Soon all our freedoms will be gone, and what will we have to believe in then.

10) You tell me – I could think of a ton of situations to fill in the 10th spot: The rise of facism, the rise of hate groups, the situation in Haiti, the spread of the Avian Flu, who knows what will be the next? Perhaps you do. Tell me what the next big conflict is; tell me what I have missed, and what I need to learn more about. And also tell me are the best posts you’ve read on these issues, so I can include them when I do write-ups. And who knows, maybe we can all come to a more balanced, globally sound perspective.

Oh, and as a side note, a few things that are not threats to world peace? Well definitely, Cheney’s accidental shooting of a friend is no threat to world peace, though it made for quite a few good laughs on Leno and throughout the blogosphere. Let’s leave it at that, though, shall we?

Halle Berry is not a threat to the Western World, but she may be a threat to the hearts and minds of men all around the world. (This, by the way, is homage to AbbaGav, who says that we must include sex in every one of our posts, in order to attract more viewers. Who, I might ask, would attract more viewers than Halle Berry?)

And the Olympics are no threat to the Western way of life, in fact it may honor it, or it may represent it. Either way, it’s a bunch of countries getting together to play some sports, and that you gotta love. I don’t watch it much, but I love it.

technorati tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Posted by Scottage at 3:09 PM / | |