< meta name="DC.Date.Valid.End" content="20050825"> Amendment Nine: Recommended

Thursday, August 24, 2006


Barnett's latest post discussing, among other things, the Old West analogy. I'm still digesting, but the parts most interesting so far are clipped below. Do read the whole thing though. My thoughts will follow today or tomorrow.

And in the larger strategic sense, we need to remember the inttegration of the American West in the latter half of the 19th century, recognizing that such integration will change us in addition to changing those integrated, and understanding that this historical process will be bloody around the margins.

I realize that whenever I evoke the settling of the American West, some knees automatically jerk with the assumption that genocide is somehow the argument. Reducing that complex historical process to just that angle is certainly self-righteous, but it's ultimately diverting.

America's westward expansion was, much like globalization, an integrating and disintegrating process. It reformatted the land from one civilization into another, and because of the strong disjuncture between those civilizations, it resulted in genocidal conflicts, but likewise intense infrastructural networking, state building, and the extension of political rule. It was imposed out of a sense of destiny that was as much justified as it was unjust. It was simply unstoppable, bloody, nasty and ultimately settling.

Now, some in the West assume that the disjunctures between Islam and what I call the Functioning Core of globalization are equally great as that presented by America's westward expansion--thus genocidal wars are inevitable.

I think that's a bad misreading of the region and Islam in general.