Something More To Worry About
There is no doubt that ISIS represents one the worst movements in the world today. The only question is whether ISIS is more or less diabolical than Muarmar Kadaffi or Saddam Hussein were? Or, are the people who have died at the hands of ISIS any more dead than those who died as a consequence of some stupid Sunni or Shiite blowing up themselves (and anyone nearby)?
Is the pursuit of martyrdom the catalyst for all this inhumanity? Maybe but there is a more basic cause.
Poor and uneducated people all over the world (and throughout history) are the pawns of those seeking power and wealth. In the Middle East and through out the Muslim world, the common person is the potential target of others who seek to improve their personal position.
- First rule, blame everything that is wrong on someone or something else.
- Second rule, emphasize that a supernatural being (god or allah) is on their side and will reward the loyal follower.
Simple rules and universally applicable.
Al Qaeda stressed the Paradise awaiting its warriors, especially the 7 virgins due each suicide bomber. Now ISIS has moved up scale. They are operating more similarly to a normal government (not out of some cave) with a traditional military branch and field fighting.
ISIS has also found that marketing (symbols like their black flag) can extend their reach. Most experts, however, predict ISIS will be defeated if they choose to engage in traditional armed conflicts. Hmmm.
So why is there something more to worry about.
There are reports that the ISIS black flags (like the Under Armor logo) are showing up in Pakistan. Why is this a worry?
Pakistan has most of the ingredients an insurgency needs,like wide differences between the rich and the poor. Most Pakistanis are dirt poor and uneducated. Government officials, on top of that, are prone to graft and corruption and seem to be indifferent to providing basic public services. Hmmm.
So what is the worry?
Pakistan also has the bomb. Were a ISIS like insurgency take hold, the security of Pakistan’s nuclear weapons could be put in jeopardy. From an ISIS perspective, their efforts toward power and wealth could take a big jump forward. With the bomb, the West could no longer kick sand in their eyes and lesser powers like Afghanistan or Iraq would be hard pressed to defend themselves from Pakistani inspired uprisings.
What does this mean?
Currently the focus is upon defeating and dismantling a group that calls itself ISIS. The playground is Syria and Iraq. The rhetoric captures ISIS as a group of people as opposed to a business model. The West would do well to see ISIS is fundamentally a business model and not a collection of people. A business model could suddenly jump to another land like Pakistan.
What if the Taliban rebranded themselves as ISIS?
Framing ISIS as a group of people, however, makes it easier to explain and convince other Americans that their government is protecting the homeland. Regrettably, ISIS is much more than a group of people. It is a business model which at its core seeks to change who is wealthy and powerful. And, best of all, a business model is far more portable.
Business models can be beaten with other models which work better. The West’s efforts towards defeating ISIS with guns needs to augmented. When ISIS or any other look alike group’s approach can be shown as more costly to the people it is trying to win over, then progress can be made on eliminating the extremist groups to seek to pray upon dirt poor and uneducated. Hmmm.