Its not just who makes money that has fundamentally changed since the medieval era, or the the 19th and early 20th century. It is how you make money. And how you make your money changes your perceptions of your interests, and your costs and benefits.
Paul wrote:It may be too early to consider this a settled issue. Turkish secularism is undergoing a major churning. The downfall in the fortunes of the west will definitely impact their ability to project their image in the middle east. It is already obvious to us Kaffirs.
Look at Turkey today - its been simultaneously Islamising, democratising and experiencing economic growth since the 1980s.
The class that has been driving Islamisation are middle class entrepreneurs and businessmen. Not a bunch of mullahs or holy warriors.
They voted for Islamic parties as much for economic reasons as identity issues - the majority of secularists in both the left wing opposition and the pro-army right wing supported a statist economy which was largely stagnant.
The economic and political growth of this class has been tied to the massive growth in investment and trade volumes with the EU and Russia first and foremost, but also with Shia Iran, and secular/Shia Azerbaijan and China.
They desperately need stability and good relationships with the non-Muslim world, as well as the Shia world.
Unless globalisation completely breaks down, the incentive structure to remain politically and culturally compatible with very different neighbours will continue.
Pakistan's Islamism on the other hand is about finding a glue to hold the country together for the elite's benefit, and mobilising the Muslim population of the subcontinent to defend that elite's interest. It has been largely militarist and feudal, driven by soldiers, mullahs and landlords. There's very little commitment to national development and modernisation, which makes it impervious to the economic logic of the global economy.
I have already indicated that after the present generation of secularized Uzbegs or other turkestani educated class pass on, the search for their roots will lead the post soviet generation to get on the vehicle of fundamentalist Islam. How and when this will happen is what needs to be figured out.
Western education has never been a hurdle to prevent the educated Islamic class to yearn for a return to their roots. If Algeria and EGypt were able to prevent the afghan arabs from taking overthrowing the hukumat, the financial and logistical support provided by the west was the key factor. With the west losing it financial clout, their ability to support these regimes will continue to diminish with time.
It is not simply a question of education - it is a question of how education, access to the wider world and the political economy interact.
If you have a progressive educational system that reaches the majority, *and* your income largely derives from doing business with the non-Muslim world, it changes your outlook.
Algeria sells oil and gas to the EU, exports it surplus labour, and imports technology. Egypt depends on tourism, international trade through the Suez Canal, and remittances from expats. These relationships are absolutely vital to all parties, and will remain vital - so the idea that non-Muslim influence will wane in these societies seems unlikely.
The biggest supporters of the Islamists in Algeria were initially middle class business owners and professionals who wanted political and economic change, which they saw as linked. When the jihadists fuelled by the unemployed took over the conflict and turned it in to a blood bath, the middle class withdrew its support and turned back to the Army.
In the case of Uzbekistan, its economic relationships for the forseeable future will continue to be dominated by dealings with China, Russia, and Shia Iran, and perhaps one day India. China in particular has a strong interest in reviving overland links given its energy needs and maritime vulnerability.
Please note, I've already said we can expect *serious* trouble from Uzbekistan's youth bulge - young unemployed men who will be sucked in to jihadist activity. Police states are seldom able to generate strong, consistant growth and keep up with rising expectations. But just like Algeria, the police state, backed by the globalised economy will ultimately crush them. There is going to be a period of instability and violence.