Did Bin Laden Win?
December 1st, 2012 - J. Hodgson
"The budget should be balanced, public debt should be reduced, the treasury should be rebuilt, the arrogance of officialdom should be tempered and controlled, and assistance to foreign hands should be curtailed, lest Rome fall." - Cicero, 400BC
“...we, alongside the mujahidin, bled Russia for 10 years until it went bankrupt and was forced to withdraw in defeat. All Praise is due to Allah. So we are continuing this policy in bleeding America to the point of bankruptcy. Allah willing, and nothing is too great for Allah.” - Osama Bin Laden, 2004
On December 27th, 1979, the Soviet Union launched a full scale invasion of Afghanistan. Within days, thousands of tanks and armoured vehicles, accompanied by tens of thousands of troops, secured Kabul with intentions of expanding the Soviet sphere of influence. This small, unconquerable Muslim country was victim to one of history’s most monstrous empires. Mass death on a scale of millions unfolded and Afghanistan slowly became the bombed out caveman husk of a nation that we know today.
But it wasn’t defeated.
The resistance against the invasion was dedicated and determined. One of the key operatives, of course, was Osama Bin Laden. From millionaire playboy to hardcore military guerilla, the experience left Osama with an ambitious set of goals.
#1. Destroy the Soviet Union.
#2. Destroy the United States of America.
#3. Establish Sharia law worldwide (Or at least within the Muslim sphere).
So, how did he do?
#1. The Soviet Union ceased to exist on Dec 25th, 1991. Twelve years after the invasion of Afghanistan the Cold War ended in defeat for Russia. Many reasons are theorized for the ultimate collapse of the Soviet Union. Ronald Reagan tends to be one of the main credit takers for the event and his hardline policies towards the Soviets in the 1980’s are generally believed to have contributed to their insolvency. Reagan built up the U.S. military in order to modernize the armed forces, but he also had a secondary reason for the arms race. He wanted the Soviets to engage in a competition they couldn’t afford to win.
"It's probably the only case in history where a strategic policy was set based upon an economic intelligence analysis, and it actually worked." - Herbert Meyer, former vice chairman of the National Intelligence Council.
Osama Bin Laden agreed, but the credit didn’t belong to Reagan in his estimation. The reason the Soviet Union bankrupted itself was due to Allah’s jihadists spending a decade fighting the good fight in Afghanistan. The Muslim warriors were able to escalate and endure, thus causing the Soviets to spend billions of dollars on a war effort they did not have the will to win.
Whether Reagan or Bin Laden gets the credit will be determined by who writes the history books, but the concept was the same: start a war and then force the enemy to pay for it. Hit them in the pocket book and watch the threads unravel.
#2. The United States of America was running a budgetary surplus in 2000. There were media reports about what to do with the extra money the government had and Seymour Durst’s famous New York City debt clock was turned off. The end of the cold war and the rise of the internet promised untold dividends of peace and prosperity.
The time was ripe for Osama Bin Laden to strike.
After September 11, 2001 U.S. President George W. Bush took a big approach. Instead of treating the attack like a crime, he treated it as an act of war. The people, hurting and hungry for revenge, cheered him on. This is what happened next...
October, 2001 - Afghanistan is invaded by the United States.
December, 2001 - Interest rates are slashed to 1.75% in order to stave off economic panic.
January, 2002 - Housing bubble due to low interest rates begins & deficits return.
March, 2003 - Iraq is invaded by the United States.
July, 2003 - Interest rates are slashed to 1%.
Jan, 2004 - U.S deficit hits $400 billion for the year. People are shocked at this number.
July, 2005 - TLC show ‘Flip That House’ begins airing. Housing bubble obvious in hindsight.
January, 2007 - Almost $2,000,000,000.00 added to U.S. debt since September 11th attacks.
December, 2007 - ‘Great Recession’ begins.
January, 2008 - Oil hits $100 a barrel reflecting inflation due to low interest rates.
July, 2008 - Over 500,000 jobs lost since beginning of year.
October, 2008 - Stock market crashes.
November, 2008 - Left-wing President Barack Obama elected.
January, 2009 - Trillion dollar deficits begin.
November, 2012 - U.S. has four years of 8% unemployment, annual trillion dollar deficits, job growth amounting to only 200,000 new jobs over 4 years, and tepid 2%-3% annual GDP growth.
Many people, especially progressive types, have trouble connecting the dots between issues. Planes hitting buildings in 2001, which led to low interest rates, which led to a housing bubble, which led to a stock market crash, which led to unprecedented deficits. It simply doesn’t compute for them. It’s this sort of domino effect that strategy thinkers are constantly mulling.
Was Osama Bin Laden a master strategy player? Was he sitting in a cave planning these attacks and thinking, “Someday after this is done, the United States will be running trillion dollar deficits and their credit rating will drop!” Probably not specifically, but it doesn’t matter. That’s what happened. If the U.S. stays the course then that dream of bankruptcy will occur and the United States will be the new Russia. Math doesn’t lie.
#3. Worldwide Sharia law.
There are loads of anecdotal stories about the rise of radical Islam. I could cite The Muslim Brotherhood winning power in Egypt. I could list terror attacks throughout the world, since September 11th, 2001.
I could write about the national power of a nuclear Iran or even the idea of a nuclear Iran. There are many flip-side examples of Muslim moderation and trends toward Western notions of freedom. Nevertheless, radical or moderate, Islam is rising.
Islam looms in the consciousness of the world today in a way that it didn’t 50 years ago. Muslim birth rates are higher than average, leading to younger national age rates. There’s power in youth and there’s power in numbers. As the Western world sinks into debt and fiscal cliffs and old age entitlements, the future will be built by those who are willing to build it. In 100 years, countries that are relatively young and culturally if not religiously strident will be leading the charge towards new horizons.
As Rome fell apart and people cheered for government funded bread and circuses, the barbarians at the gates sharpened their knives. Visigoths, Huns and Vandals charged forward and took Rome down, but it all began with the first attack in 167 marking the beginning of the Macromannic wars. The Romans won that one, but the barbarian invasion had only just begun. This wasn’t a ten year process...it took centuries, but eventually youth, numbers and stridency prevailed.
Fact #1: The Soviet Union did indeed collapse.
Fact #2: The United States of America is facing fundamental, possibly terminal problems.
Fact #3: Muslim countries are growing more numerous and powerful.
If substantial change doesn’t begin soon, then in 100 years time, our grandchildren will be living in the world that Osama Bin Laden built.