Friday, April 21, 2006

Didn't Huxley have most of the answers?

In his 1932 novel, Brave New World, Aldous Huxley drew a stark picture of the future. He was certainly prescient in his anticipation of the role that drugs, genetic engineering, and mass consumption of amusments would play in societies to come, but weren't some of his political thoughts also clues to solutions which might be pursued by modern advocates of internationalism?

I was struck, a few days ago, by an article published in Forbes, "Most dangerous destinations 2006." The author has selected the following as th most dangerous places to travel today:

(alphabetically)
Afghanistan
Burundi
Cote d'Ivoire
Democratic Republic of the Congo
Georgia
Haiti
Iraq
Liberia
Pakistan
Papua New Guinea
Rusia (Chechnya)
Somalia
Sudan
Zimbabwe

I observe that the list is arranged according to nations, and not by dangerous region. It is not, for example, equally dangerous to travel in all parts of Pakistan, but it is extremely perilous for a westerner to venture into mountainous Waziristan, where radical Islamists have a uniform resentment and animosity directed toward all things progressive and all citizens of Western nations are at risk. But the sme could be said of the neighboring Pashtu-dominated area of Afghanistan, where American troops continue to meet stubborn resistance from similarly-motivated Islamists.

The Sudan, which is listed, has been the scene of historical genocide perpetrated by the governing Islamists against both Christians and Animists in the South, and more recent genocide against similar groups in eastern Darfur. But simply designating the Sudan as a dangerous place is inadequate, especially since the violence has spread across international boundaries into neighboring Chad.

In other instances, national designations make more sense. Haiti is on an island, and only the Dominican Republic, which shares that island, has been greatly affected by Haitian disorder. Zimbabwe, the private estate of the dicttor Robert Mugabe, has been unable to destabilize its neighbors, although the potential to do so remains. But Chechnya is another area where the violence (and its motives) are not isolated, and it is the center of a dangerous region rather than simply being a dangeous place.

Wouldn't it make sense for us (the international community) to simply recognize that there are some places in the world so primitive, so violent, and so intactable that they do not deserve inclusion in normal world activities. Wouldn't it make sense for us to erecognize such areas as "Savage Reservations" and to isolate them--thereby guaranteeing them the FREEDOM to pursue their own benighted choices while protecting civilized peoples from the depredations of the savage? Huxley thought so, and his conclusion deserves, in the light of current events, to be re-examined.

One of the first objections will be that the civilized world NEEDS the resources found in some of the most savage areas, such as oil. My response is that the WEst has the means to simply take these resources as it need them, and that it confine the savages to non-essential areas, as Huxley did. Waziristan-Pashun is relaively easily isolated, but a certain permanent military force will have to occupy the important Midle Eastern oilfields and keep the savages there at bay. I would propose that the Shi'ites of Iraq and Iran and any neighboring areas be allowed to unite under one chaotic "state" and left alone until they descend into utter ruin. That shouldn't take long. In the meantime, necessary military force will be used to keep them from posing a threat to the rest of us.

Some areas will not have to designated "savage." NOrth Korea, for example, was not included on Forbes' list, probably because so few people are allowed to travel there. But it need not be isolated. Instead, it could simply be turned over to the neighboring Chinese or Japanese, or a consortium of both, for future regulation and development.

I am sure that there will be some here who object to such a suggestion. They may be determined to assume a role as "their brother's keeper," even when the brother has no desire to be kept, only to be appeased and obeyed. But Huxley may have been right all along, and modern apologists for savage behavior may simply be postponing the day when men can actually live in harmony.

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