Monday, July 31, 2006

SF writer William Gibson explains neocon blindness

I may add my thoughts later.

OK - Here goes...

Gibson sees the neocons who are running American foreign policy as being stuck in the 3rd World War, the Cold War, paradigm. The Muslim extremist groups have moved beyond that and are fighting World War 4. The neocons can't recognize what has happened and why their solutions aren't working. Gibson believes Thomas S. Kuhn's The Structure of Scientific Revolutions - outline here, which explains scientific paradigm shifts and the failure of the old to comprehend the new, is the best model for what has happened.

Many neocons would agree they are fighting World War 4 but others, such as Newt Gingrich, see it as World War 3. In either case, they have not changed their way of looking at the conflict or their strategies of fighting it from the Cold War days. All of them have defined the enemy as militant Islam. Fighting this as the Cold War, they are seeking to militarily defeat the capitals of the enemy and install democracy in governments they overthrow. Some inconvenient truths like that the democratic regimes are increasing electing anti-Western politicians or that the increasing attacks on insurgents and terrorists with heavy collateral damage are only increasing the resistance is only slowly seeping into their perception. These are not part of their model or frame and so are difficult for them to perceive.

Can they improve their model and incorporate some elements of reality? Will they experience a paradigm shift to allow them to see their failures? Will the anti-Western groups succeed is marginalizing and defeating the United States before either occurs? Is this best seen as a battle between the West and militant Islam? These are some of what I believe are the real questions for this time in history.

No comments: