Middle Class Dems Key to Peace
by Dan Ehrlich

At the height of the Troubles in Northern Ireland I said on UK news radio the best way to end the sectarian bloodshed was to make everyone in Ulster middle class.

This is even more relevant on the international level. When people are relatively financially well off enough to afford decent lifestyles and education, they rarely go to war or wage terror campaigns. This is especially true with true democracies. When was the last time a democracy went to war with another democracy?

Sadly enough, it was probably back in 1848 when America invaded and defeated Mexico. Not one of our finest hours…probably a low point in US

One of the key elements of America’s Cold War strategy was based on the Warsaw Pact nations becoming economically developed enough that waging a nuclear war would too self destructive to contemplate. Nations with a lot to lose won’t want risk what they have.

The problem we have in today’s world is with nations whose people don’t have enough and whose governments have little control of their territory. Cases in point are Afghanistan and Somalia, countries that are fertile grounds for terrorist bases due to little or no government control.

Both of these countries are Muslim. And despite liberal protestations about profiling, the fact is 99 percent of international terrorism is perpetrated by Muslim extremists, brim full of passion about their faith and its superiority over all others.

Yet, their activities, even the disaster of 9/11, have been diversions from the core problems plaguing the affluent western nations: 'It’s the economy stupid.' Yet, it’s a lot more than that…issues that demand our full attention never receive it.

At a local computer shop the post Christmas rush was on, with a bumper crop of repair jobs to be done. But, the one or two staff barely had time to fix any of them because phone calls and customers were constantly diverting them. This describes how America has been operating since the end of the Cold War Era, going from diversion or distraction to another, mainly to keep the people and their politicians from tackling the growing gap between rich and poor, the balance of trade deficit, cheap foreign imports, job outsourcing, illegal immigration, undefended borders and environmental pollution.

We no longer have the economic clout to be the world’s sheriff. Even though we still have an enormous military, we have seen how limited its success can be in limited wars. In the end we are just going to have to accept the fact there will be crazies in the world, people who will try, and even possibly be successful in staging brutal acts of carnage.

This new reality is a by product of a far smaller world than it was 50-years-ago and the fact we have had to interact with nations that not only have little in common with us, but many of which consider America in the same light as we once considered the Soviet Union.

The world, as is rapidly becoming the case within America, is divided between have and have-not nations, with a few of the have-nots developing enormous pockets of middle class people on the backs of booming economies as the new producer countries.

It’s estimated in less than five years there will be more middle class people in Asia than in Europe and North America combined. Yet, this will still be a drop in the bucket in relation to the billion plus populations of China and India. Still, is raises the peace stakes. For example, China will be less likely to risk a war over Taiwan if it means destroying what it has build up with the West. And India will be more reluctant on one hand to risk a war with Pakistan given Pakistan’s nuclear capability and India growing high tech industry.

On the other hand, Pakistan is a very poor nation of downwardly mobile people held in a vice grip by their strict Muslim beliefs. This is what worries India and many other nations. Pakistan doesn’t have much to lose and a weak infrastructure to protect what it has. The same could be said of Iran being hit with sanctions over its nuclear program. What will be more dangerous a nuclear armed wealthy Iran or a poor Iran with atomic weapons.

The problem with many Muslim nations is the faith itself inhibits productivity and intellectual thought needed to help raise living standards. A prime example is Saudi Arabia, one of the world’s wealthiest nations; on paper that it, whose population exists on an average of $15,000 per year.

Yet, next-door are the small Gulf Emirates, which have, per capita, the world’s wealthiest populations thanks to oil revenues that have trickled down to the people. Yet they’re not democracies, they still limit free speech and liberties and are not the norm for the Middle East.

Britain offers a good example. Many Hindu Indian immigrants and their children are at top level of the educational ladder in the UK, while Pakistani Muslim immigrants are at the bottom.

However, the Islamophobia that’s engulfing much of the western world is largely baseless. Most Muslim nations have little buying power and even less military power with many dependent on the West.

As for the millions of Muslims immigrating to western nations, they mainly don’t assimilate or even mingle with the locals. It’s too soon for that. The threat there will mainly come from the gradual lowering of western living standards thanks to high unemployment and dwindling treasuries.

For people from alien cultures to eventually assimilate will take time and a lifestyle that will be hard for future generations to resist. Yes, there will be radicals preaching hate of the Infidels. But they will die away if the wealthy western middle class survives and thrives, drawing upwardly mobile Muslims in as new members.

The survival of the western middle class will be the main challenge of the New World order as Asian nations become flush with pockets of affluent people.

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