Five years in, remembering why we’ll win

KnoxNews: Columnists

Tom Barnett, in his pithy way, navigates the trauma of 9/11 with the long view of history that puts things into perspective.
This Long War did not begin with 9/11. As defined by the expanding global economy, previous iterations of this fight date to the early 19th century, when capitalism first took hold in Europe and America.

Since then, as our model of markets begetting democracies has spread around this Earth, we have encountered new resistance with each age.

First came the Marxists, who thought they’d strike when capitalism reached its inevitable collapse – as the fascists did later in Weimar Germany. Then it was the Bolsheviks who retreated in history to find a pre-capitalist Russia where they could wage their socialist revolution. Then the Maoists retreated further into the pre-industrialized countryside to trigger their peasant revolution.

And now we have al-Qaida’s Salafi jihadists, whose back-to-the-future fantasy involves hijacking Islamic societies all the way back to a pre-economic, 7th-century “good life.”

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