Monday, September 11, 2006

Some 9/11 Encouragement

Kenneth Silber, at TCS Daily, has a common sense, and optimistic piece on why we (we being the good guys, the non-terrorists) are likely to win the War on Terror, or more precisely, why the terrorists are likely to lose. Today, of all days, it's a good thing to be reminded that, no matter how right it is to remember the lost on the 5th anniversary of 9/11, the story doesn't end there, nor does the future hold our imminent demise. Silber looks at the Cold War, and how many of communism's opponents feared they were losing the battle, even as they were fighting on the side of freedom. Obviously, they were wrong. Communism did not ultimately prevail. Silber, learning from this example, applies it to the trend he observes today, that of pessimism regarding the struggle against our terrorist foes. He sums up some reasons why the enemy is far from invincible, and points out some of their weaknesses, which, though often overlooked, make them unlikely to be victorious in their quest for world domination.

One of those weaknesses is one that a reader and I have discussed briefly in the comments of a previous post. I think it is a crucial part of winning this war over time:

Oil revenue is the terrorists' lifeline. The wealth that subsidizes Islamic terrorism and totalitarianism is overwhelmingly derived from the Persian Gulf region's petroleum exports; such exports are the mainstay of Iran's economy and of private "charities" that have funneled money to terrorist groups throughout the region. Efforts to diversify world energy supplies, driven by an array of economic, environmental and geopolitical factors, can be expected to erode the dominance of the region's oil over the next several decades. The development of alternative fuels and technologies, and of new petroleum sources such as the multibillion-barrel field recently discovered in the Gulf of Mexico, pose an enormous strategic threat to our enemies in the War on Terror.
This is such a critical observation. All of the environmental and political pressures caused by our use of fossil fuels as our main energy source are leading to dramatic developments, and ultimately will lead to the end of our dependence on oil. So much effort and money is going toward the search for viable alternatives, and this search is producing such promising results, that real changes are on the horizon, and the horizon grows ever closer. When those alternatives are readily available, and oil wanes as a necessary component to the national economies of secular democracies the world over, the Middle East will lose much of its revenue, as well as much of its influence on the democratic world and its policies. Take Iran as an example. What civilized nation, or group of nations, would let that demented and tyrannical government dictate terms, expand its influence, or develop nuclear weapons, if Iran has nothing the other nations need? If Iran didn't sit on one sixth of the world's known oil reserves, what power would that nation have now, and how much tolerance would there be for its funding of Hezbollah, from other governments that weren't equally demented? I think the answer to that question is pretty close to zilch. Mutiply that effect by the whole region, and the dynamics of Middle East policy change significantly.

Silber is absolutely right that the ongoing development of alternative sources of energy is one of the primary reasons that Islamic fascism will ultimately go the way of the Soviet Empire. There are other reasons, as well, so read his article for a bit of 9/11 encouragement.