Monday, February 16, 2015

Analysts see cartoon issue as tactical for radical Islam; world slipping back under authoritarian "undertow"

The latest interpretation on the Copenhagen attacks is that it seems to be primarily “lone wolf” in character, someone with a criminal background incentivized by the Paris attacks.  An overriding question is, really, is this just about the cartoons and images of the Prophet?  When you consider attacks on Theo Van Gogh, and threats (Shiite, from Iran) against Salman Rushdie, it seems that it about controlling all speech critical of “Islam”, with combativeness, as a political strategy.  On the other hand, several analysts on CNN have pointed out the cartoon issue is attractive tactically because it galvanizes popular support among disenchanted European young Muslims, for its symbolic value.  Right now, that is.  But the target could change to something else in the future.  It’s comparable to the “outrage” of Sony’s “The Interview” film from North Korea.  It's like a decision a chess player makes, when to sacrifice a particular pawn late in a game opening.  
The New York Times has an op-ed by Rob Cohen, "Islam and the West at War" here where he talks about a metastasis within Islam of a "murderous hatred of western civilization".  

Fareed Zakaria Sunday pointed out that there is an “undertow” of sliding back in world statistics on populations living in “Free countries” and “partly free countries”.  He mentioned a “Future of Freedom”’ foundation (link ) study (which Zakaria is part of) showing the numbers, but I could not find the study online yet. He considers China, Russia, and most of the Muslim world as authoritarian and “not free”.  The exceptions in Africa and the Middle East would be Israel, Tunisia (the one country that did well with the “Facebook” Arab Spring), and perhaps Turkey, and recently South Africa (beset by horrible crime problems).   Libya and Egypt are sliding back into despair and radicalism; Yemen has imploded.    

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