9/11 Propelled Terrorism Essay

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In October , white nationalist Greg Johnson promoted the white extinction conspiracy theory, suggesting that "the organized Jewish community is the principal enemy — not the sole enemy, but the principal enemy — of every attempt to halt and reverse white extinction. One cannot defeat an enemy one will not name. Therefore, White Nationalism is inescapably anti-Semitic. In December , Ku Klux Klan leader Thomas Robb proposed in an interview with Al Jazeera that a white genocide was occurring due to the immigration and high birth-rates of non-whites.

He claimed that demographic change was affecting the economic, racial and social landscape of Harrison, Arkansas and the US at large, and that this amounted to "white genocide being committed against our people". In October , Mike Cernovich , a social media personality, published the white nationalist catchphrase "diversity is code for white genocide", claiming that his discovery of the concept had caused him to cease being a libertarian and instead become an alt-right activist. During the US presidential election , there were allegations that aspects of the conspiracy theory had been adopted as dog-whistling by some mainstream conservative political figures.

For the white nationalists, the main villain is 'international Jewry. The month before the US presidential election, white supremacist Richard B. Spencer declared that whatever the upcoming result, that he would be "profoundly grateful to Donald Trump for the rest of my life". Invoking "white genocide" in the same interview, he labelled anti-discrimination laws "the enemy of all tradition, not just the Anglo-Saxon American society it has helped destroy", and Martin Luther King Jr.

By early November, one week before the election, KKK leader Thomas Robb was invoking the conspiracy theory in support of Trump's Make America Great Again message, claiming that the concept was inextricably linked with the restoration of white power in the US [] In February , it was reported that neo-Confederate activist Michael Hill was using Rhodesia to reference and warn against an apparent "racial genocide" of whites in the United States. By March , Republican congressman Steve King was using rhetoric that Mother Jones and Paste writers described as invoking the conspiracy theory, saying that "We can't restore our civilization with somebody else's babies" and using the phrase "cultural suicide".

In August , a white supremacist protest named the Unite the Right rally was held in Charlottesville, Virginia , largely driven by the ideology of the "white genocide" narrative. The protest was ostensibly centered around the impending removal of a statue of Robert E. The night before the rally, leaflets were distributed en masse in the city, bearing the recurrent slogan "Diversity is a code word for white genocide".

Speaking at the event in Charlottesville, Jason Kessler , the primary organizer behind the rally and a white nationalist blogger, claimed that "the first and foremost reason that we're having this rally, is for that park and for that statue. It's about white genocide. It's about the replacement of our people, culturally and ethnically". Other prominent white nationalists also tied the conspiracy theory to the motivations behind Unite the Right.

Giving a speech at the rally, Neo-nazi Mike Enoch said "We're here to talk about white genocide, the deliberate and intentional displacement of the white race". In the fall of , it was reported broadcaster Alex Jones and his fake news organization InfoWars were promoting the white genocide myth. Jones has been described as particularly instrumental in the American spread of conspiracy theories about white genocide in Africa, [93] [] while his long-time political ally, radio host Michael Savage , has devoted an episode of his show to conspiracy theories about white genocide in the region.

In August , US President Donald Trump brought the concept of "white genocide" in relation to South Africa significantly further into mainstream media discourse, after he publicly instructed Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to investigate South African farm attacks , [37] an instruction which was broadly portrayed in media as Trump and his administration advocating for an unfounded conspiracy theory. Trump had apparently gained his information from Tucker Carlson , a conservative political commentator for Fox News , who has been described as bringing the conspiracy theory of an ongoing "white genocide" in South Africa into the mainstream after a piece about the topic on his show caught the attention of president.

New York magazine had claimed Trump was attempting to "change the conversation — to one about 'white genocide' in South Africa"; [39] Esquire reported that the "President of the United States is now openly promoting an international racist conspiracy theory as the official foreign policy of the United States. In August , many politicians and public figures responded critically to US President Donald Trump 's foreign policy initiative to investigate the seizure of land from white farmers and apparent evoking of the conspiracy theory. Julius Malema MP reacted, saying "there is no white genocide in South Africa", [] that Trump's intervention into their ongoing land reform issues "only made them more determined The deputy Minister of Public Works spoke against the conspiracy theory; in a committee meeting in the South African parliament , he indicated that land expropriation without compensation should not be viewed as a white genocide.

Labelling Trump's actions as "dangerous and poisoned", [38] Gaspard opposed the concept, claiming the conspiracy theory was "trafficking in a white supremacist story line," [] and that the concept is a "white-supremacist meme from the darkest place. Cuomo, a television journalist, while stating that "like all conspiracy tripe, there's a kernel of truth" to the theory in relation to land reform in South Africa but concluded that the concept was a "bogus cause that white nationalists are selling. With a substantive response, American anti-racism activist, Tim Wise , critically analyzed the conspiracy theory further; stating that it was a form of negrophobia , being directed politically to "scare white Americans " about non-whites within the US [] Wise has proposed that the paranoia around the conspiracy theory dates back to the Haitian Revolution and North American slave rebellions , but that changing demographics of the United States have heightened existing anxiety, stating that "the reason it is amplified today is that in the recent past the cultural norm of the country was still dominantly white.

While Mika Brzezinski , co-host of Morning Joe , spoke out against the concept, [] labelling it as a "a racist conspiracy theory", [] American civil rights activist, Al Sharpton joined Brzezinski in her opposition, labelling it as " neo-Nazi propaganda. Three independent analyses of Trump re-election campaign advertisements shown in found 2, ads warning of an "invasion" by immigrants. In asking for help to fund a wall along the US-Mexico border, the ads included all-caps warnings of a "state of emergency," saying, "America's safety is at risk," and that it is "critical that we stop the invasion.

People hate the word 'invasion,' but that's what it is. It's an invasion of drugs and criminals and people. The American news channel Fox News is described by multiple mainstream media sources as aligned with the concept and narrative of the white genocide conspiracy theory and using its prominence to bring rhetoric of demographic threats to white Americans further into the center of US discourse. Amanda Marcotte , writing in Salon , has stated that Fox's default ideology is "strikingly similar" to " fascistic replacement theory" and "white genocide". Marcotte wrote that this ideology is especially the case for the network's prime-time commentators, such as Tucker Carlson and Laura Ingraham. GQ has reported that Fox News' "popular primetime" shows are an important pipeline to President Donald Trump 's political positions, such as the investigation into land reform in South Africa, and that Carlson's show in particular dedicates segments to "'great replacement' propaganda".

A collection of writings called Siege by James Mason was cited as an inspiration by some of the twenty-two neo-Nazis who infiltrated the New South Wales Young Nationals party from which they were banned for life for trying to advance the creation of an ethno-state. In March , several Australian tabloids owned by the News Corporation ran articles alleging that South African whites were faced with genocide and which led the Australian home affairs minister Peter Dutton to promise fast-track visas for any South African white wishing to emigrate to Australia. Another Australian News Corporation columnist Caroline Marcus connected the alleged plight of South African whites to what she saw as a broader attack on whites across the world, writing "the truth is, there are versions of this anti-white, vengeance theme swirling in movements around the western world, from Black Lives Matter in the US to Invasion Day protests back home.

In , a resolution declaring " It's OK to be white ", and decrying "the deplorable rise of anti-white racism and attacks on the Western civilization ," was introduced in the Australian Senate by Pauline Hanson , an anti-immigrant Senator who leads the One Nation Party. The motion was narrowly defeated. After Australian white-genocide conspiracy theorist Brenton Tarrant carried out the March Christchurch mosque shootings , Queensland Senator Fraser Anning released a statement saying the cause of the attacks was "the immigration program which allowed Muslim fanatics to migrate to New Zealand in the first place".

Anning has called for a " final solution " to nonwhite immigration to Australia, [] and frequently issues calls to stop white genocide on social media. The accused perpetrator of the Christchurch mosque shootings alluded to "white genocide" and ethnic and racial "replacement" in a page manifesto posted shortly before the attacks. South African expatriates in New Zealand have been spreading white genocide myths on Facebook and by demonstrating in marches.

Timothy McVeigh , the main perpetrator of the Oklahoma City bombing that killed and injured more than , carried pages from The Turner Diaries , a fictional account of white supremacists who ignite a revolution by blowing up the FBI headquarters with a truck bomb. Richard Baumhammers , the perpetrator of a shooting spree in Pittsburgh , Pennsylvania, that killed five people and injured a sixth, complained that European Americans are being outnumbered by minorities and immigrants, calling on a website for "an end to non-white immigration" because "almost all" present day immigration "is non-European.

Frazier Glenn Miller Jr. Dylann Roof , the perpetrator of the Charleston church shooting that killed nine people and injured a tenth, included a photo on his Facebook page of his wearing a jacket decorated with two emblems that are popular among American white supremacists : the flag of the former Rhodesia now known as Zimbabwe and the flag of apartheid-era South Africa. He concluded that George Zimmerman had been in the right, and was unable to comprehend why the case had gained national attention. He said he then searched for black on white crime on Google and found the website of the Council of Conservative Citizens , where he read "pages upon pages" of cases involving black people murdering white people, stating that he had "never been the same since that day.

The driver responsible for the Charlottesville car attack against protesters at the Unite the Right rally had previously espoused neo-Nazi and white supremacist beliefs. The perpetrator of the Pittsburgh synagogue shooting that killed eleven and injured another seven wrote "Jews are the children of Satan" in his social media profile, using neo-Nazi and white supremacist symbolism associated with David Lane, along with the Nazi slogan, " Heil Hitler. I can't sit by and watch my people get slaughtered. Screw your optics, I'm going in. The perpetrator of the Poway synagogue shooting that killed one and injured three others blamed Jews for white genocide, which he described as the "meticulously planned genocide of the European race" in his manifesto.

The perpetrator of the El Paso shooting that killed 23 and injured another 23 [] had published a manifesto expressing support for the Christchurch shooter and his manifesto, saying the El Paso attack was in response to a "Hispanic invasion of Texas Anders Behring Breivik , the perpetrator of the Norway attacks , had participated for years in debates on Internet forums and spoken against Islam and immigration. The perpetrator of the Christchurch mosque shootings that killed 51 and injured 49 explained in a manifesto that he carried out the attack to fight ongoing "white genocide" by foreign "invaders. Photographs from his initial court appearance showed him making the "OK" symbol appropriated by white supremacists with his fingers.

White genocide is a myth based on false science, false history, and hatred. White genocide conspiracy theory frames evidence of declining birth rates in support of extremist views and calls to violence. In October , Sanjiv Bhattacharya analyzed the belief in the conspiracy theory amongst the alt-right. As a result of the ensuing controversy, Ciccariello-Maher resigned from his job as an associate professor of politics and global studies at Drexel University.

Derek Black , an American former white supremacist and godson of David Duke , after initially supporting and helping to popularize the concept, [] [] has renounced and opposed the white genocide conspiracy theory. He stated that "unfortunately, in part because it's built upon a very real and dark truth in American history —which is that white supremacy has always been a big part of what this country is—white nationalists were able to start capitalizing on that. In January , Democratic Philadelphia City Council member Kenyatta Johnson labelled the Ku Klux Klan 's distribution of "white genocide" promotional material in black neighborhoods of Philadelphia as an "upsetting and disgusting" act. He proposed that "neo-fascist, white supremacist, revolutionary language" was becoming mainstream and was in effect "starting to change the way people are willing to express themselves", including President Trump.

In March , journalist Adam Serwer suggested that the conspiracy theory did not sincerely refer to "mass murder, ethnic cleansing, or even violence," but rather to a perceived "loss of political and cultural hegemony in countries that white supremacists think should belong to white people by law. Proposing that the "white genocide" label had "failed to take off", proving ineffective for conspiracy theorists attempting to push the narrative. Manjoo, an American journalist, suggested that the " Great Replacement " which the Christchurch mosque shooter used for a manifesto title was a softer reinvention, being to the white genocide conspiracy theory what the term Identitarian is to "white supremacist.

In April , British academic Elif Shafak detailed how Renaud Camus ' theory of the Great Replacement has created an ideological worldview for the far-right to amplify into a "white genocide" narrative in the West. Shafak argues that the conspiracy theory is also embedded in the works of Thilo Sarrazin , such as Germany Abolishes Itself and 's Hostile Takeover. Discussing Pittsburgh synagogue shooter, Robert Gregory Bowers , and his rhetoric, Freeland and Hasan, both political journalists, labelled the conspiracy theory as racist and unhinged and argued that it had both the Muslim and Jewish "communities in its murderous sights".

They concluded that both groups should "stand and fight it together". In May , political commentator Nick Cohen analyzed how "white genocide" narratives created anti-immigrant and societal sexual tension. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. White supremacist belief that there is a deliberate plot to cause the extinction of whites. For the term related to the Armenian diaspora, see White Genocide Armenians.

Main article: Nazi eugenics. Main article: Neo-Nazism. Main article: Rhodesia. Main article: The Great Replacement. See also: Cultural hegemony. See also: The Turner Diaries. See also: Racial views of Donald Trump. See also: White Australia policy. The Daily Beast. Andre S. Hannibal has views that echo the white extinction conspiracy that the Christchurch shooter propagated: when officials went to his barracks in to question him, he told them that "Islam will be the No.

Many white supremacists subscribe to the bogus conspiracy theory that white people are going extinct due to immigration and falling birthrates among white women. Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. August 16, The words under 'Soros' in the graffiti are 'white extinction,' and this refers to a conspiracy theory that is common on the far right. One might even say on the alt-right, and among white supremacists and neo-Nazis, that George Soros is the frontman for some sort of Jewish plot to exterminate the white race. March 27, The Trump administration — supported by many adherents to the white supremacist conspiracy theory that whites are threatened with extinction due to an assault by inferior people of colour through immigration, affirmative action and demographic changes "Far right groups have Winnipeg supporters and must be opposed, says activist, former professor".

August 17, Would they not step in to prevent the deed by using the evidence collected under the Crimes Act? If so, what is the difference with an ideologically motivated crime that makes it only prosecutable under the TSA? And for the second time, it was given out by the Court. The third point is that the government had a legal remedy on national security grounds that would have kept Mr. S confined indefinitely while being assessed and treated but chose not use it: issuing a Security Risk Certificate against him recommended by the Security Intelligence Service SIS and once used in the Ahmed Zaoui case even though Zaoui never threatened or committed any act of violence.

Unlike Zaoui Mr. Which is odd given that he could have been subject to the strictures of the Security Risk Certificate during and after his trial regardless of sentence on lesser charges and therefore would not have been free on September 3 or required a constant resource-draining police surveillance presence in the weeks leading up to it. Hat tip to Selwyn Manning for alerting me to this angle of inquiry.

In any event, rather than an act of terrorism or terrorist act take your pick , what I saw on Sept. I recognize that NZ does not have a hate crime statute as far as I know and understand that hate crimes are usually designated as acts of violence committed against individuals or groups because of who they are e. It does not make the supermarket attacks any less heinous than those done deliberately as terrorist attacks with the same thankfully non-fatal outcome. Disclosure : After a day of thought and research into the case, I agreed to selective media interviews in which I outlined the views expressed above. That included raising the question as to whether invoking the Mental Health Act was considered.

I still think that it was a legitimate question to ask and as it turns out the government answered it, however vaguely, shortly after I posed the question to a reporter. A few days later it turns out that I was on to something. The sucker ploy is a tactic by which guerrillas commit an outrage or stage a provocation of some sort that draws a disproportionate response from the military that they are fighting, thereby shifting popular support from the latter to the former. A classic example is for guerrillas to shoot at passing military vehicles or aircraft with small arms fire from a village, then retreat into the surrounding countryside while the military responds by annihilating the village and its occupants.

Those wars have not resulted in any significant change favorable to the geopolitical position of US but have contributed to the polarisation of its internal politics. Meanwhile US adversaries like the PRC and Russia built and rebuilt their military forces into peer competitors of the US and expanded their spheres of influence. Mostly as a result of US bungling, Russia is now the most important extra-regional power in the Levant and North Africa and is poised, however ironically, to become a major interlocutor between the Taliban and the global community.

Chinese economic and diplomatic influence is world-wide in scope and its aggressive military presence is now a constant in East and Southeast Asia as well as along its land borders. Other actors such as North Korea, Iran and Turkey have been emboldened by perceived US weakness while traditional US allies fret about the stability of the international order without its central presence as a stabilizing force. It gets worse. Across the world authoritarianism has replaced democracy as the dominant political form. In another irony, this includes the US, which nurtured the conditions that led to the election of a bigoted sociopathic narcissist to the presidency and the unleashing of long pent-up hatreds within the body politic.

Sure, he was not around to see it come to fruition. Sure, there has not been a global awakening of Islamicism that threatens the socio-economic and political parameters of most established nation-states. Wahhabism and Salafism are not the dominant sects in the Muslim world. A key result of this decline is the collapse of the concept of liberal internationalism as a guiding foreign policy principle in the US.

This principle, which long enjoyed bipartisan support in US foreign policy circles and which is premised on the notion that the combination of market economies and democratic governance is the best political-economic form regime , was thought to be imposable by external actors—meaning the US and its democratic capitalist allies—on unstable or failed underdeveloped states where extremism was believed to breed and prosper. From that belief came the pursuit of nation-building and regime change as foreign policy objectives, even if the targets of such ambition had no history with democracy, maintained pre-modern economic, cultural and social structures in which notions of consent and compromise two hallmarks of all democratic social interaction were absent, and were ill-disposed to have an occupying force impose anything on them other than temporary physical security and material aid.

The fire was started by a gas burner used to make morning tea, which was set on the floor of the barracks and surrounded by blankets pulled from beds for the commandos to sit on the preferred to have their tea on the floor rather than on tables when inside due to the cold weather, much as they did in their home villages. One of them inadvertently knocked the gas burner over, which set fire to a blanket. Rather than smother the fire with dirt or water or toss the burner out a window or door, the commandos—the best of the best Afghan soldiers—threw more loose blankets on the fire, which then rapidly spread to the barracks beds and wooden floor and walls which unlike village huts, were not made from earthen and clay materials. They then ran out of the building. When the SF trooper arrived, he found the commandos throwing rocks at the fire through the front door of the now fully engaged building.

It burnt to the ground. Rather than chalk it up to the actions of ignorant primitives, my reading is that for the Green Beret the moral of the story was the futility of attempting to impose modernity, to include modern concepts of rationality and logic, on deeply rooted pre-modern cultures and societies that were uninterested in the social aspects of so-called modern democratic living. Learning to fight better with modern weapons was one thing, but re-learning basic forms of social engagement was quite another.

Their traditions worked fine for them and imposition of other forms of social organization only complicated things and turned out bad in the end. In hindsight, the Green Beret came to understand their view, but by then he was physically, psychologically, occupationally and temporally far away from that outpost. As it turns out, for all the lip service paid to promoting democracy, the world is now governed by more authoritarians that democrats, and many of the places in which authoritarianism has flourished are those in which the US intervened the most heavily. As for the promotion of market economics, the major consequence has been greater global income inequality within a context of increased concentration of commodity production, demand and exchange.

Instead, it has baked in a socio-economic landscape of structural disparity and deprivation juxtaposed against and subordinate to a parallel world of opulence and waste. More can be added to this litany of unhappiness but for the moment the point is this: the era of liberal internationalism has come to an end as both a practical objective and a foreign policy theory. It remains to be seen what will emerge in its stead once the repercussions of the pandemic and US decline fully filter throughout the global community. One adage of warfare is that when a clearly weaker actor fights a clearly stronger actor to a standstill, then the weaker actor has won the contest.

This is particularly so for asymmetric, irregular warfare where one side has the advantage of disproportionate force but the other side has time and willpower in its favour. So long as the weaker actor can remain steadfast over time when resisting the superior force, then not only will stalemate be achieved but eventual victory for the weaker actor is more likely. Where the weaker actor is fighting on home territory against a foreign force, the probability of its eventually prevailing are significantly improved.

For the stronger actor fighting on foreign soil, the longer the conflict is drawn out, the more likely that it will be defeated, especially if domestic support at home political and social for the fight wanes over time. If the foreign power is simultaneously fighting another major land war or wars , then its chances of victory in any of them are significantly reduced. They resisted colonial and post-colonial French and US-led Western forces for more than two decades and eventually achieved independence, then fought off Chinese aggression to consolidate their hold over what is now the Republic of Vietnam.

Like the VC, the Taliban have no Air Force, have no Navy, and what sophisticated ground warfare equipment they employ which is not much , they captured from foreign forces or were clandestinely supplied by anti-Western states such as China and Russia. They used cross-border allies to good effect in getting supplies through Iran and Pakistan in particular but not exclusively , and used guerrilla, hit and run tactics to extend the occupiers territorially until individual units or outposts could be surrounded and overrun by highly mobile and locally massed Taliban forces using surprise and local knowledge to their advantage.

The Taliban are, in a nutshell, a resilient, extremely determined, ruthless, cunning and resourceful adversary who fights on its home turf against foreigners and foreign-backed locals who in the case of the former do not understand them and who in both cases do not have the will to continue fight without an end in sight. In effect, we may not like their medieval ideology, but we must recognise their will to impose it at all costs.

That brings up another maxim of warfare: The actor who prevails is the one that is willing to suffer the most losses and continue fighting. The Taliban have shown their mettle in this regard. To that we can add the historical observation that unlike secular say, Maoist or Marxist-Leninist guerrilla groups, religiously-inspired irregular warfare actors are seldom fully defeated, but instead ebb and flow like the tide depending on the political and social conditions of the day and the strength of countervailing forces. That is because of the nature of their respective ideologies. Religion is a pervasive, deeply imbued primordial cultural organizing principle that, if driven underground, continues to reaffirm commonly shared traditional social values even in modern secular societies.

That makes it more difficult for them to clandestinely sustain themselves. Religious irregular warfare actors seek to reaffirm what traditionally is and has been; secular irregular warfare actors seek to overthrow and replace what is and was. Depending on the relative depth of religious belief in a given society, the former has a much better prospect of long-term success than the latter when it comes to asymmetric conflict. Because of their lack of ideological support in most societies, secular irregular warfare actors either win or lose, the first via protracted irregular conflict culminated by conventional military victory and the latter via short intensive kinetic campaigns waged by overwhelmingly superior military actors.

Secular irregular warfare actors also attempt to do this, but their lack of ideological depth in society exposes them to relatively quick detection and elimination. Conversely, the deeper the religious culture into which religious irregular warfare actors can dive, the more likely that they will resurface as an intact fighting force once the stronger opponent has left the battlefield. That has now happened in Afghanistan.

The price paid by the Taliban during this conflict has been enormous. They have been killed in astronomical numbers by land, air and sea. A generation and more of their leadership cadres have been decimated. They lost control of cities and then rural areas, in some cases fleeing across borders in order to avoid complete annihilation. And yet, after two decades on non-stop warfare and the inter-generational destruction of scores of fighting cadres, they have regained control of Afghanistan now that the US and its ISAF partners have left the country. In the space of two months once the foreign forces withdrawal was announced, the Taliban gained control over the majority of Afghan territory. Kabul has fallen and the foreign-backed president Ghani has fled along with millions in cash , leaving his subordinates and foreign patron remnants to fend for themselves.

The spectre of a genocidal, gendered bloodbath is a real possibility and there is a mass refugee migration underway from Afghanistan into neighbouring countries, especially from non-Pashtun, non-Sunni regions. Over a quarter million people have fled their homelands in the last two months alone, and the international airport in Kabul is a scene of chaos as thousands seek airlift rescue.

It is not a stretch to draw parallels with the fall of Saigon, especially after seeing scenes of Chinook helicopters evacuating people from the rooftop of the US embassy. Even more so than the failed experiment in post-Saddam Iraq, the US-led push to democratise and secularise Afghan politics and society has fallen hard on the double swords of corruption and traditional culture. The Western-backed governments that have held power once the Taliban were overthrown in have been little more than kleptocratic distribution wheels for the favoured and connected. Modernization in the form of aid programs to foment the likes of female education, road building, health and sanitation facilities, reticulated sewage systems, electrical power grids etc.

In other words, the physical infrastructure of the country may have been modernised, but by and large the societal value structure was not. The hard fact is that the seeds of the latest Western defeat in Afghanistan were sown the moment the nation-building project in that country began. Had the US and its allies defeated the Taliban and then left Afghanistan to sort itself out along traditional ethno-religious and tribal lines say, by allowing warlords and tribal militias to contest local authority with central government advocates , the process of national reunification or reorganisation would have been violent but in all likelihood shorter and more durable when it came to the distribution of and balance of power between local and central authorities.

The project was therefore bound to be a failure in form procedure and substance outcomes , both of which were manipulated to serve the ends of local elites. To put it in more general terms: attempting to impose modern and post-modern Western-style political forms, social norms and cultural mores on populations dominated by pre-modern authoritarian social hierarchies was akin to trying to get a fish to ride the proverbial bicycle.

In other words, it was one aspect of an irregular warfare strategy used against insurgents and was not an end of itself. This was all known before the nation-building exercise began, not only by counter-insurgency specialists in military communities, but by anthropologists and sociologists who study places like Iraq and Afghanistan and their respective sub-cultures. The reasons are many but the conclusion is clear: external imposition of foreign social norms and political structures, no matter how well-wrapped in developmental assistance, is most likely to fail.

All of this accumulated wisdom was ignored in Western capitals including Wellington when the macro-level dimensions of the ISAF mission were operationalised. Although they enjoyed some tactical success, at a strategic level these efforts ultimately failed and proved to be a harbinger of things to come. But beyond the waste of Western efforts to construct a unified country in territory that is home to more than one nation, or the brutal toll taken on innocent Afghan civilians looking to live in whatever peace might come to them, what exactly has been lost?

Is the impending calamity of a Taliban takeover as described by Western media and politicians really likely to come true? As it turns out, after I started writing this post I got a call from my friend Jon Stephenson, the war correspondent and investigative reporter. Jon probably knows as much as anybody in NZ about that country, and it was fortuitous that he got in touch while I was thinking about what is written above. What follows is my distillation of some pertinent parts of our conversation. The Taliban are not monolithic. They have moderate and militant factions and political and military wings. They exert more control and influence in the rural, less modernised countryside than they do in cities, especially the capital Kabul. The political leadership in Doha is more moderate than the military leadership on the ground in Afghanistan, and its degree of control over military commanders is comparatively looser than, say, that of the political leaders of Hezbollah or Hamas.

In other words, their degree of support and control in areas outside of Kabul is uneven and at times contested by local warlords and militias. As for Kabul, the issue is pretty stark. The Taliban can infiltrate, surround, isolate and attempt to choke the capital into complete surrender in the face of significant armed resistance from foreign military forces and what is left of Afghan security units linked to them, or the capital can keep supply lifelines going by air and perhaps, but unlikely secure land corridors until a negotiated settlement is reached.

Western military help will be needed to stave off or forestall a Taliban takeover of Kabul but if that is forthcoming and it appears to be a peaceful handover of power or power-sharing compromise may be possible. In any event issues of national governance may prove problematic for the Taliban. After all, what they will have to do even if complete military victory is achieved is to build a State out of the ruins of the current one. They will need to provide public goods and services, organise a Sharia legal system, re-create a public bureaucracy that includes everything from health and education administration to border immigration and customs controls and transportation regulations, civil aviation rules, document issuance and certification, etc.

For that they will need bureaucrats and other skilled labor, many of whom are fleeing the country as I write. They will need an institutional edifice—actually buildings with people and communications apparatuses in them— in order to discharge their nation-wide public service functions beyond those involved in local repression. Hence, although they may be adept at fighting and some may be willing to return to the Medieval Era when it comes to organising Afghan society, it is more likely that the Taliban will have to compromise on the extent to which Afghanistan will return to the Dark Ages and what aspects of modernity it can live with.

The question is therefore how much will the Taliban be willing and able to compromise, and on what subjects and policy areas? Getting these foreign interlocutors to invest diplomatically and economically means that the Taliban must offer self-binding assurances and guarantees and assume contractual obligations of various sorts, negotiated by people competent enough to engage with sophisticated foreign counterparts and legitimately representative enough to ensure that any deals they make or promises made are binding.

That is by no means assured at this point because if one thing is certain is that Afghans are generally disposed to look at any foreign presence with suspicion and distrust. That includes non-Western foreigners as well as those from the West, who in any event will have to confront the compounded obstacles posed by corruption and traditional values. At a minimum, besides the need to operate domestically-focused public bureaucracies, the Taliban will need a diplomatic corps capable of dealing with foreign entities.

Those must include people competent to engage with aid agencies given the inevitable requests for reconstruction assistance as well as those responsible for interacting with various potential military and diplomatic partners. That requires significant levels of education and experience, which given the brain drain now underway in Afghanistan means that the Taliban cannot afford to go full Pol Pot on the country and kill all infidel locals off and in fact will likely have to employ foreign nationals in any event in order to operate their public sector, to say nothing of staffing the private interests that may establish a presence in the country.

The larger point is that the world does not end with a Taliban takeover, they cannot survive as a regime governing a nation-state if they kill and repress everyone who is not an adherent of their ideology, they therefore need to know how to play nicely with a range of interlocutors, foreign and domestic, all of which means they need to get their house in order before they present a cohesive if not inclusive face to Afghan society as well as the global community.

Twenty years of foreign occupation has changed Afghan society, at least in the urban and suburban areas where Western influence and development projects were the most heavily felt. In parallel, the Taliban of today are not exact replicas of their fathers. The intergenerational passage mentioned earlier with regard to warfare extends to how the contemporary Taliban differ in their view of how to rule post-occupation Afghanistan. As Jon Stephenson mentioned with regards to the situation in general, it is hard to predict what will happen but things have certainly changed for the Taliban when it comes to governing in coalition or alone.

The society that they will now inherit is not the society that they left behind when the foreigners arrived to remove them. In a signal of its defeat, the US has asked the Taliban not to attack its embassy in Kabul and warns that it will use aid assistance as leverage against future Taliban provocations or transgressions once it office. Both scenarios may come to pass but the truth is that the the Taliban will be looking for new international partners rather than redraw contracts with those who backed the deposed regime.

For those Afghans who placed their bets on supporting the US and ISAF and worked with and for them, the moment is indeed uncertain and tragic. Like the Kurds, Iraqis and Vietnamese before them, many of those who sided with the US will lose their lives and livelihoods in the months to come. But the hard reality is that siding with a foreign occupier was always a fraught proposition based on significant inter-temporal current and future risk, and for many that dark future has arrived. What is puzzling is that even in the face of such foreboding prospects, many non-Taliban Afghans have chosen to surrender in the case of security forces or flee in the case of civilians rather than fight. What this means is that indeed, there is a tragedy at play in the return of the Taliban.

But it may not be the calamity that many in the West think that it will be because the circumstances surrounding the return mitigates against rather than in favour of wanton destruction and mass blood-letting. The Taliban need to demonstrate that they can rule over a society that is in significant ways different than the one they governed two decades ago, and they need to engage with an international community that also is different than the one that blamed them for harbouring al-Qaeda. The Taliban themselves are different in many ways, as are the foreign interests willing to engage with them on economic and diplomatic matters. Their domestic threat environment now includes co-religionists in the form of al-Qaeda and Daesh, to which can be added splinter groups from adjoining countries and local warlords and militias with foreign ties.

This is the basis for a glimmer of hope in the Afghanistan regime transition now underway. If not born of compromise, Taliban rule will likely be different out of necessity. It is important that the international community do all that is possible to ensure that the political necessity of the moment becomes long-term governance fact not only for the good of the Afghan people but in order to pay the fair price of making amends for what ultimately is the result of Western neo-imperialist hubris. Postscript: What was heard from above. From time to time I get asked about the prettiest places where I have lived. I have been lucky to travel and visit many other beautiful places as well.

Among the conversations about pretty places I get asked about which have the best skies, both for sunrises and sunsets as well as for stargazing. My answer is always the same. It is particularly spectacular during the summer monsoon season, currently taking place. This is one reason why:. The subject in question was the involuntary repatriation of Suharya Aden and her children to NZ after Australia cancelled her citizenship. Brownlee was blathering about her being a terrorist security threat, how she jumped the que ahead of deserving Kiwis in the MIQ line and how the government needed to be more transparent about the process under which Ms.

Aden was to be returned and administered. He said that NZ should adopt citizenship-stripping laws like those in Australia so as to prevent the likes of MS. Aden returning voluntarily or otherwise. Truth be told, what I really wanted to say but could not because of time constraints was that Mr. He was part of a government that regularly hid, misled or deliberately lied to the public on a number of issues, including those involving national security. He is long past his expiry date as a politician, so being a public buffoon is a step up. As part of the debate on the Control Orders Bill now Act Brownlee knows that Control Orders come into effect once a person is on NZ soil and that invocation of the Act automatically triggers suppression orders on the name and case details of the person s targeted by the Act.

In any event enough about him. For the sake of clarity, let me outline some facts about Ms. Suhayra Aden was born in Mt. Roskill in of Somali refugee parents. At age six her family moved to Australia, settling in Melbourne, and took Australian citizenship. Her family is still there. She may have been radicalised on-line. She may have been subjected to family or peer pressure. She may just wanted to see the world or get a taste for adventure. She was young, gullible, perhaps manipulable and clearly made some bad decisions. And yet she is still quite young at This raises the possibility that everything that happened to her afterwards was done under duress, without her informed consent.

In the medieval world view of ISIS, women are domestic servants, sex toys and breeders, that is, reproductive vessels of future fighters. I have been told that my characterisation of Ms. Aden as a concubine or camp follower has been labeled as sexist by some NZ fourth wave feminists, but I suggest that they read a dictionary and get back to me on that one. Remember—it is ISIS that is medieval when it comes to gender roles, not me. In Ms. She had three children with these men, one of whom died at an infant or toddler age of pneumonia. In she fled to the Al-Hawl refugee camp in northwestern Syria.

That means that during the four years she was actually in Syria, she was pregnant for 27 months of that time 2 years and 3 months. She presumably nursed her infants concurrently with and after those pregnancies. Along with the gender role assignation described above, that strongly suggests that she was not an ISIS fighter and therefore is unlikely to have been involved in committing atrocities even if her husbands were. And even if she was or knew about such things, the fact that she was likely acting against her will from the onset mitigates against accusations that she was actively engaged in terrorism. In February Ms. Aden and her surviving children were caught by Turkish border authorities while attempting to cross into that country from Syria.

Aden and her children deported. Lucky for her and unlucky for him, NZ feels obliged to help with that process. But how did NZ come to be involved? In the interview with Australian journalists conducted at Al-Hawl, Ms. Aden expressed a desire to return to Australia. After the interview was made public, in early the Morrison government stripped her of her Australian citizenship under section 35 or the Australian Citizenship Act, amended in after she had left Australia. What this means is that when Ms. Aden left for the fighting fields of Syria in she was doing nothing illegal, and that both the amendment to the ACT and the revocation of her citizenship were applied retroactively without due legal process or recourse.

She is not only welcome home—she is wanted home by her whanau. Aden may also have family support in Melbourne but her country of choice has turned its back on her and her children. In NZ she has no such support and yet, as a citizen, her right of return is the same as Ms. Therein lies the dilemma. The Australians not only issued Ms. But they have called her a terrorist nonetheless. That left NZ no other option but to return her and her children back to NZ, following international law and practice which states that citizenship cannot be stripped from natural-born subjects and that States must recognise and assume responsibility for their subjects when asked to do so by foreign powers.

Aden is a native born Kiwi and her children assumed citizenship by birthright. They have no other place to go now that Australia has rejected them. Should NZ adopt an Australian approach, as Brownlee and Collins suggest, then they would be left stateless and bereft. I would argue that whatever the sins of the mother, vesting them upon the children is a grotesquely callous act unbefitting a liberal democracy. As an international good actor and as a civilised society NZ has to make the best of a bad thing by offering them repatriation. Thankfully that is about to happen. When Ms. Aden and her kids arrive in NZ it is likely that she will be the first person subjected to the Control Orders Act.

As mentioned, that involves suppression of her name and details of her case. What is known is that the Act prescribes restrictions on her freedom of movement, communication and association. She will be monitored by security agencies and supervised by social welfare agencies, including psychological counselling services. This management program may even involve electronic bracelet usage again, details of what is involved will likely be subject to suppression orders.

The need for those sort of extreme privacy measures is due to the dual nature of the security concerns involved. On the one hand, NZ security authorities must be vigilant that she pose no risk to NZ society. Were she in any way to encourage extremism in any forum or venue, she would likely be charged and prosecuted accordingly perhaps even under proposed hate speech legislation, if not the Terrorism Suppression Act. Perhaps it is the traumas that they suffered, the trials that they endured, the tribulations that they encountered or the travails of their existence in war zones, but the likelihood of their returning to jihadism is very remote at best.

On the other hand, Ms. Aden and her family need to be protected from harm themselves. There are many Islamophobes in NZ who wish her and her children ill or worse. Some have vented in social media abut their desire to do her harm, so the threats must be taken seriously. That poses problems for the Police if her address, name or locations of schools, mosques and social service organisations that she frequents are made public. Given that there are innocent children involved, the authorities must be proactive on their behalf. In the end, the NZ government has to make the most of a difficult situation and appears to be doing so, barking from the Opposition notwithstanding.

It will be for Ms. Aden to make the most of her second or third chance in life, if not for herself then for the future of her children. The Opposition would be wise to cease and desist trying to score political points on the matter, less they find themselves confronted by a similar dilemma in the future when in government. As circumstances would have it, while pursuing my Ph.

It was from him that I learned that the original logic of deterrence, Mutual Assured Destruction MAD was being replaced as early as the late s with something known as Flexible Response. That evolution continues to this day, with additional nuclear armed actors now factored into the equation. I had already met some strategic analysts and active and retired military officers during my MA studies at a different university, something that had introduced me to the concept of MAD and piqued my interest enough to want to study under the famous nuclear strategist. Over the ensuing years after I graduated and before I immigrated to NZ I encountered several Air Force missile officers and Navy submariners who at various stages in their careers were responsible for deploying nuclear weapons in operational environments with the real possibility of their being ordered to launch.

Without exception these were very sober people, and although they would not share secrets with me they confirmed in casual conversations that US nuclear strategy had come a long way since they days of dumb bombs and MAD. One things that has remained constant, however, is the deterrent nature of nuclear weapons. The bottom line is that nuclear weapons, although offensive rather than defensive in nature due to their characteristics, are never to be used in anger. They are a form of protective shield for the States that have them, and designed to ward off attacks by more powerful actors or actors that may be inclined to launch nuclear strikes in opportunistic or otherwise irrational fashion. There is an old saying often attributed to my former professor in the nuclear strategic community that a maniac with one nuke puts everyone else in check.

That is not exactly true for a variety of reasons, but having even a small but demonstrable nuclear force greatly complicates the strategic calculations and physical costs of would-be aggressors. Think of it this way: what if Saddam Hussein did in fact have nuclear weapons and could have delivered them on top of the Soviet SCUD replicas in his arsenal to other regional capitals? What if Gaddafi had that capability? Would anyone attack them knowing that they could and would retaliate with nukes but without being certain that an attack would fully eliminate their nuclear weapons before use?

Who and under what circumstances would take that risk? Entered into force in it recognized five nuclear states—the US, UK. Soviet Union now Russia China and France. They are included in the NPT in spite of their weapons status, so the intention of the NPT was to cement that status quo and direct non-proliferation efforts at other aspiring nuclear powers. Responsibility for controlling nuclear arsenals in the five nuclear states was left to their respective governments. No other multilateral nuclear arms limitation agreements have been signed, and over the years four countries have violated the NPT and developed their own nuclear arsenals: India, Israel, North Korea and Pakistan.

Iran may be on the cusp of doing so and from time to time threatens to do exactly that. To their credit, Argentina and Brazil began to develop their respective nuclear weapons programs but abandoned them by mutual consent in the s. South Africa is reported to have detonated a nuclear device in the s but never went on to developing a full-fledged weapons program. In some quarters it remains a common belief even to this day.

Rather than revisit the history of nuclear deterrence and strategy, I thought it would be worth while to break it down into component parts in order to get to the state of play in the current age. With ranges over 5, kilometres currently reaching 15, kilometres , these missiles are the most powerful weapons ever developed. Boosters that have a maximum range of 5, kilometres. They are single stage, high altitude liquid or solid fuel propelled and may be armed with conventional as well as nuclear warheads. SLBM : Sea launched ballistic missile. These are boosters launched from surface or sub-surface maritime platforms.

They can be ICBM or IRBM in nature and be propelled by solid or liquid fuels note that liquid fuels are more unstable than solid fuels and hence riskier to deploy. Many SLMBs are conventionally armed but the ones under closest scrutiny are nuclear tipped. A scenario for such is a submarine penetrating close to hostile territory say, a Russian submarine moving undetected close to the US East Coast in order to reduce the warning time between the firing of an SLBM and the impact on designated strike targets. The concept underpinning the triad is akin to putting eggs into different baskets, in this case in order to promote force dispersion, redundancy and second strike capabilities see below.

ICBMs land and SLBMs sea have longer reach; air-launched platforms have more flexibility in delivery and targeting options but are more vulnerable this may change once space-based weapons systems are fully operationalised. This allows a State to weather an attack, survive, and respond in devastating kind. That logic is at the core of MAD, but in the contemporary era there is a twist to it. Throw-weight : The amount weight of fissile material a given warhead, also measured in kilotons or megatons of equivalent high explosive. They can vary from depending on the range of the booster and the throw-weights of the warheads. MARV : Manoeuvrable re-entry vehicles.

Same principle as with MIRVs, but the warheads are guided in real time by human operators and can switch targets while in flight. It killed , people instantly. In practice this means that throw weights can be reduced as accuracy increases. Along with advances in computer modelling, that is the main reason why the sort of large megatonnage weapons and huge thermonuclear explosions that characterised nuclear testing in the Pacific in the ss are no longer seen today. Counter-value strike : These involve nuclear strikes against population-heavy targets like cities and large urban centres. They use mid to low altitude air bursts in order to maximize blast damage on soft non-hardened objects and structures and help radioactive dispersal via air currents, thereby increasing human lethality.

Their military value may be negligible but the physical and psychological impact of high value strikes is devastating to the targeted community whether they survive or not. The desired effect is to either annihilate an enemy society or reduce it to a hyper-vulnerable defenseless mass that can be subjugated. Although justified as military targets, Hiroshima and Nagasaki were the victims of counter-value strikes. Counter-force strike : These involve nuclear strikes against military targets, to include opposing nuclear and conventional armed forces and command, control, communications, computing and intelligence C4I centres. Ground-level and penetrative bunker busting strikes using shaped warheads focus the kinetic effect of nuclear blasts in order to overcome hardened defenses and structures and, as a secondary effect, reduce civilian collateral damage because hardened many military-security sites are located away from population centres.

As with counter-value strikes, the characteristics of the target determine the throw weights deployed against them. This may be caused by imminent defeat in a conventional conflict or in an effort to prevent a nuclear strike, but in any case the concept is married to the notion of a. The premise is that the a State, via its deployment of a hardened and stealthy Triad, will be able to survive a first or pre-emptive strike and retaliate against a first strike opponent. Since the first strike opponent will have used most of not all of its nuclear arsenal in order to prevail without retaliation, failure to do so opens it and the society that it represents up to a devastating, even existentially threatening response. It is based on the belief that a full range of nuclear forces, from artillery fired battlefield nukes to strategic weapons, enhances the de-escalatory logic of deterrence through the full spectrum of force because the escalatory potential of first use in battlefield contexts can be limited to the tactical level and therefore avoid unchecked strategic confrontations.

Even so, making it easier to introduce nuclear weapons into battlefields or low intensity conflicts can potentially escalate into strategic exchanges, depending on the command and control structures involved, so it places a premium on command and control self-discipline even in the face of conventional defeat or certain death. Miniaturisation : The reduction in size of objects, in this case of nuclear weapons and their delivery systems. Warheads are getting smaller, delivery systems more stealthy and less detectable, and C4I systems more sophisticated yet simpler to use.

This all augers poorly for strategic arms control efforts. Contrary to much has been written, this may not necessarily be a bad thing if the PRC uses its strengthened land-based missiles as bargaining chips in renewed strategic arms limitation negotiations with the US, Russia and possibly other nuclear powers. Whether one takes them at their word, the Chinese appear to have embraced the deterrent character of nuclear weapons, and given their recent upgrades, may feel more inclined to talk about arms control from a position of strength.

In other words, they now have leverage, if not the inclination to use it. Smaller nuclear states have slightly different logics. France and the UK are heavily reliant on their submarine forces for strategic nuclear deterrence because their land masses are too small for deploying a robust and redundant ICBM fleet. They also tie themselves to the US nuclear umbrella, something that seems increasingly questionable now that Donald Trump has exposed deep flaws in the US political system that undermine its position as a reliable ally.

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