Originally Posted by chiwhisoxx
You definitely make good points, and the more I think about it, the more I agree with you, I guess. But the one thing I'd say that's a bit of the fly in the ointment is the question of sustainability. People may have not realized it during the Cold War, but the Soviet project was pretty obviously unsustainable. I mean, the country couldn't produce bread by the end of the Cold War; despite having larger military means, propoganda, and all those things you mention, it was clearly all going to collapse once the Soviet Union collapsed. And the collapse of the Soviet Union was if not imminent always inevitable.
I see no such serious sustainability problems. The West, as chronicled by (I'm sure much reviled in these circles) Mark Steyn, Muslims have pretty serious demographic advantages over the west in the coming years. The population of Muslim countries is growing substantially, while the U.S is stagnant, and Western Europe is in some sort of slow motion death spiral. I realize the Muslim population and the enemy we're fighting and not the same thing, but you also can't entirely disentagle the two. While the feasiblity of achieving another global caliphate is obviously far fetched, I don't see an obvious endpoint for this ideology. I'd be interested to hear if you agree with any of this.
It's my understanding, as well, that the populations of countries that have produced Muslim radicals are growing, and the populations of Western European countries are shrinking. I don't believe that extremism is very closely tied to that religion, area, etc, though; I think that if the Middle East starts to have more political and entrepreneurial opportunities for aggressive young men they'll find more constructive things to do than blow themselves up.
Islam might be well suited to holy wars, but it's also true that during the golden age of Islam that these guys pine for, the Islamic world was a merchant empire that lived fat off the profits of global trade. I think it's possible for future events to make militant interpretations of Islam look as anachronistic and untenable as communism does today, in other words.