Journalists, it is said, write the first draft of history. Given the manner in which the once honourable profession of journalism has been subverted into a propaganda tool of the Western corporate elite, it is a totally undeserved compliment.
Journalists, it is said, write the first draft of history. Given the manner in which the once honourable profession of journalism has been subverted into a propaganda tool of the Western corporate elite, it is a totally undeserved compliment. Today, journalists act little more than mouthpieces for the latest policy prescriptions of the ruling class, regardless of how destructive it may be for the rest of humanity, or indeed its own populations.
Some examples will clarify this point. Iran is accused by the West of making a nuclear bomb. Without examining the allegation or providing proof, the Western media simply parrot this nonsensical assertion. Iranian President Ahmedinejad wants to “wipe Israel off the map” is another oft-repeated allegation. He has never said any such thing but that has not prevented Western television talking heads and pompous newspaper columnists from repeating it ad nauseum. Even if Israel were wiped off the map, would the sky fall or the world come to an end? There is no Soviet Union today; Yugoslavia has disappeared. So what? What has been wiped off the face of the earth is Palestine and this is what the Zionists and supporters of this colonial settler entity do not want the rest of the world to know.
Moving beyond Western journalists’ hypocritical rantings, we want to venture into the realm of future gazing. We make no claims — big or small — to know the future but we take our job and profession seriously, hence this attempt to honestly analyze current trends to make an educated guess.
The US’s claim to being the sole superpower is no longer accepted even by diehard American firsters. True, it still wields enormous destructive power but that is no mark of greatness. The US does not hold the attraction it once did nor is it feared as widely. In addition to the Zionists even the South Koreans now thumb their noses at the Americans. The sole superpower is dead.
History shows that the balance of power doctrine works best in global politics. Competing centres of power emerge to challenge claimants to the sole leadership role. The US may have been unchallenged for a decade (1991–2001) but then it blundered into two wars that have sapped not only its energies but also drained its economy. While there may not be military alliances openly challenging the US, several economic and political blocs now exist as competing centres of power. There is the Brazil, India, China and Russia (BRIC) economic grouping that trade in each other’s currency bypassing the dollar. There is also the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) that brings Russia, China and the Central Asian Republics into a powerful bloc with others poised to join.
What is most interesting is the unofficial alliance between Turkey, Iran, Syria, Hizbullah/Lebanon and Hamas/Palestine. Turkey’s philosophy of zero conflict with all neighbours articulated by its able foreign minister, Ahmet Davutoglu, has paid handsome dividends. Turkey has lifted visa requirements for citizens of neighbouring countries. Massive foreign investment has also flowed in.
After the Islamic Revolution in Iran, this new development offers the best hope for the future of Muslims. It does not mean the US and its allies, especially the Zionists will give up their mischief-making but Islamic Iran and Turkey have shown what good neighbourly behaviour can achieve.
There are also other developments on the horizon. Both Egypt and Saudi Arabia are destined for major shake-ups. Their aging rulers already have one foot in the grave. Who will succeed them is a tantalizing question but what is certain is both countries can expect periods of turbulence leading to declining US influence in the region. It cannot, however, be ruled out that some military officer — a colonel or general — may already have been groomed by the US to take over in one or both countries. He may even espouse anti-western rhetoric to gain public acceptance but changes in Egypt and Saudi Arabia will certainly diminish US influence in the most important region.
It is for Muslims, especially the Islamic movement to decide the kind of future they want. To secure an honourable existence in this unfair world, a clear understanding of the current global reality is an essential prerequisite. Pious hopes or banking on one’s enemies good behaviour will not achieve the desired results. The global arena has opened up with US military defeats in Iraq and Afghanistan and its consequent economic decline. If Muslims do not fill this vacuum, others will. The choice is ours.
Zafar Bangash is Director of the Institute of Contemporary Islamic Thought