Looking Beyond 2005
As Christians gather around the home fires to celebrate the birth of the Christ Child, people of all faiths (and those without religious convictions) tend to wonder what will happen to them in the year or years to come.
Some futurists worry our efforts to plant democracy into the heartland of the Middle East will fail. They worry that we will fall back into a Fortress America mentality. Like it or not, an American retreat from the world scene would not be practical.
Ever since the invention of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons and the means to deliver them, either by missile or by hand, we have had no choice but to engage the world as we find it. And, to try to engage it as far from our shores as possible.
This new reality causes concerns among those on both the far right and the far left. Some bridle at the thought of some loss, either real or imagined, of personal freedoms and liberties. Our government’s need to know who is here and what they are doing will cause some inconvenience. But our inconvenience pales in comparison to the hardships faced by our armed forces as they try to engage the enemy far from our shores.
But let’s posit some possible scenarios we might see in the first quarter of the 21st Century. The Old Europe could be overrun with Muslims who are either refugees from their oppressive native regimes or the vanguard of a pre-meditated effort to re-populate the Old Europe with Muslims. For example, Malmo, Sweden, has over 250,000 Muslims currently on the public dole. At current Muslim birth and immigration rates into Sweden, the Muslims will soon bankrupt the financial resources of the Swedish welfare state.
The New Europe, led by the U.S. and NATO, may become the center of European economic progress. Poland, joined by the former Soviet satellites of the Baltic States, the Balkans and, apparently, the Ukraine, could form a vital “heartland” of the New Europe and a Christian bulwark against further westward expansion by radical Islam.
Should the United States be forced to withdraw from its forward defensive posture, we could see a new consortium of Atlantic rim nations that would include: the U.S., Great Britain, Canada, Iceland, Greenland, Mexico and Caribbean island states. A Fortress Atlantica, if you will.
We might see a consortium of western Pacific states that would include: Japan, South Korea, the Philippines, Taiwan, Indonesia, Brunei, Malaysia, New Guinea, Australia and Singapore. Until we invent a replacement for fossil fuels, their center of gravity would be around the oil riches of Indonesia, Brunei and the yet-to-be-tapped undersea oil fields of the Spratly Islands in the South China Sea.
But once we invent the replacement for fossil fuels, the oil-rich Arab states are history. Unless the Saudi Princes wake up and smell the terrorism that could engulf them, they may find themselves watering Osama bin Laden’s camels.
How about future political trends in this country? At some point, the Democratic National Committee will learn the lessons of the 2004 election. Watch for Hillary and other Democrat wannabes to start turning up at religious events. To get in step with the Red States, the Democrats must become the defenders, rather than the enemy, of Christmas, Hanukkah and other religious observances.
Almost 40 percent of younger Americans do not think Social Security, as presently constructed, will be there for them when they retire. This will allow President Bush an historic opportunity to rescue Social Security for them by allowing a small portion of their Social Security payroll taxes to be invested in a growing 21st Century economy. Otherwise, their fears will be realized.
Eventually, we will erect a workable missile defense; however, we must always be on guard against man-portable nuclear, chemical and biological weapons. Like it or not, our model must be the American Eagle, not the Ostrich.
William Hamilton, a syndicated columnist, featured commentator for USA Today and self-described “recovering lawyer and philosopher,” is the co-author of The Grand Conspiracy and The Panama Conspiracy – two thrillers about terrorism directed against the United States.
©2004. William Hamilton.