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Fighting Caliphate With Chaos

Sum up our failed Middle East policy in a nine-letter word starting with an S. Stability.

Stability is the heart and soul of nation-building. It’s the burden that responsible governments bear for the more irresponsible parts of the world.

First you send experts to figure out what is destabilizing some hellhole whose prime exports are malaria, overpriced tourist knickknacks and beheadings. You teach the locals about democracy, tolerance and storing severed heads in Tupperware containers.

Then if that doesn’t work, you send in the military advisers to teach the local warlords-in-waiting how to better fight the local guerrillas and how to overthrow their own government in a military coup.

Finally, you send in the military. But this gets bloody, messy and expensive very fast.

So most of the time we dispatch sociologists to write reports to our diplomats explaining why people are killing each other in a region where they have been killing each other since time immemorial, and why it’s all our fault. Then we try to figure out how we can make them stop by being nicer to them.

The central assumption here is stability. We assume that stability is achievable and that it is good. The former is completely unproven and even the latter remains a somewhat shaky thesis.

The British wanted stability by replicating the monarchy across a series of Middle Eastern dependents. The vast majority of these survived for a shorter period than New Coke or skunk rock. Their last remnant is the King of Jordan, born to Princess Muna al-Hussein aka Antoinette Avril Gardiner of Suffolk, educated at the Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst, and currently trying to stave off a Muslim Brotherhood-Palestinian uprising by building a billion dollar Star Trek theme park.

The British experiment in stabilizing the Middle East failed miserably. Within a decade the British government was forced to switch from backing the Egyptian assault on Israel to allying with the Jewish State in a failed bid to stop the Egyptian seizure of the Suez Canal.

The American experiment in trying to export our own form of government to Muslims didn’t work any better. The Middle East still has monarchies. It has only one democracy with free and open elections.

Israel. Even Obama and Hillary’s Arab Spring was a perverted attempted to make stability happen by replacing the old Socialist dictators and their cronies with the political Islamists of the Muslim Brotherhood. They abandoned it once the chaos rolled in and stability was nowhere to be found among all the corpses.

It might be time to admit that barring the return of the Ottoman Empire, stability won’t be coming to the Middle East any time soon. Exporting democracy didn’t work. Giving the Saudis a free hand to control our foreign policy didn’t work. Trying to force Israel to make concessions to Islamic terrorists didn’t work. And the old tyrants we backed are sand castles along a stormy shore.

Even without the Arab Spring, their days were as numbered as old King Farouk dying in exile in an Italian restaurant.

If stability isn’t achievable, maybe we should stop trying to achieve it. And stability may not even be any good.

Our two most successful bids in the Muslim world, one intentionally and the other unintentionally, succeeded by sowing chaos instead of trying to foster stability. We helped break the Soviet Union on a cheap budget in Afghanistan by feeding the chaos. And then we bled Iran and its terrorist allies in Syria and Iraq for around the price of a single bombing raid. Both of these actions had messy consequences.

But we seem to do better at pushing Mohammed Dumpty off the wall than at putting him back together again. If we can’t find the center of stability, maybe it’s time for us to embrace the chaos.

Embracing the chaos forces us to rethink our role in the world. Stability is an outdated model. It assumes that the world is moving toward unity. Fix the trouble spots and humanity will be ready for world government. Make sure everyone follows international law and we can all hum Lennon’s “Imagine”.

Not only is this a horrible dystopian vision of the future, it’s also a silly fantasy.

The UN is nothing but a clearinghouse for dictators. International law is meaningless outside of commercial disputes. The world isn’t moving toward unity, but to disunity. If even the EU can’t hold together, the notion of the Middle East becoming the good citizens of some global government is a fairy tale told by diplomats while tucking each other into bed in five-star hotels at international conferences.

It’s time to deal with the world as it is. And to ask what our objectives are.

Take stability off the table. Put it in a little box and bury it in an unmarked grave at Foggy Bottom. Forget about oil. If we can’t meet our own energy needs, we’ll be spending ten times as much on protecting the Saudis from everyone else and protecting everyone else from the Saudis.

Then we should ask what we really want to achieve in the Middle East.

We want to stop Islamic terrorists and governments from harming us. Trying to stabilize failed states and prop up or appease Islamic governments hasn’t worked. Maybe we ought to try destabilizing them.

There have been worse ideas. We’re still recovering from the last bunch.

To embrace chaos, we have to stop thinking defensively about stability and start thinking offensively about cultivating instability. A Muslim government that sponsors terrorism against us ought to know that it will get its own back in spades. Every Muslim terror group has its rivals and enemies waiting to pounce. The leverage is there. We just need to use it.

When the British and the French tried to shut down Nasser, Eisenhower protected him by threatening to collapse the British pound. What if we were willing to treat our Muslim “allies” who fill the treasuries of terror groups the way that we treat our non-Muslim allies who don’t even fly planes into the Pentagon?

We have spent the past few decades pressuring Israel to make deals with terrorists. What if we started pressuring Muslim countries in the same way to deal with their independence movements?

The counterarguments are obvious. Supply weapons and they end up in the hands of terror groups. But the Muslim world is already an open-air weapons market. If we don’t supply anything too high end, then all we’re doing is pouring gasoline on a forest fire. And buying the deaths of terrorists at bargain prices.

Terrorism does thrive in failed states. But the key point is that it thrives best when it is backed by successful ones. Would the chaos in Syria, Nigeria or Yemen be possible without the wealth and power of Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Iran? Should we really fear unstable Muslim states or stable ones?

That is really the fundamental question that we must answer because it goes to the heart of the moderate Muslim paradox. Is it really the Jihadist who is most dangerous or his mainstream ally?

If we believe that the Saudis and Qataris are our allies and that political Islamists are moderates who can fuse Islam and democracy together, then the stability model makes sense. But when we recognize that there is no such thing as a moderate civilizational Jihad, then we are confronted with the fact that the real threat does not come from failed states or fractured terror groups, but from Islamic unity.

Once we accept that there is a clash of civilizations, chaos becomes a useful civilizational weapon.

Islamists have very effectively divided and conquered us, exploiting our rivalries and political quarrels, for their own gain. They have used our own political chaos, our freedoms and our differences, against us. It is time that we moved beyond a failed model of trying to unify the Muslim world under international law and started trying to divide it instead.

Chaos is the enemy of civilization. But we cannot bring our form of order, one based on cooperation and individual rights, to the Muslim world. And the only other order that can come is that of the Caliphate.

And chaos may be our best defense against the Caliphate.


  1. Y. Ben-David9/9/16

    You comment that the Western leaders believe the world is "moving towards unity" seems to be universally held by both the Left and Right in America. Dubya Bush invaded Iraq and Obama supported the overthrow of Qaddafi in Libya based on the belief that once the bad dictators are ousted, free elections will inevitably lead to functioning, Western-style democracies. The same was believed about the removal of the Communist regime in the old USSR...that Russia would become a democracy. In the rest of the old Communist bloc we also so attempts to set up democracies, but countries like Poland and Hungary are now moving in authoritarian directions.
    Obama's biggest put downs are when he told Putin after his annexation of the Crimea that it was "so 19th century" and "he is on the wrong side of history", as if Obama is some sort of prophet that knows which way history is moving, However, as I pointed out the conservatives in America also believe the same thing, its just they have a different utopian end-point than Obama and his Leftist friends have.
    This, of course, is the main problem. The horrors of the 20th century show to me that civilization is a pretty fragile thing. It was the most advanced country in Europe (Germany) and Asia (Japan) that carried out the most sadistic, genocidal policies. Not only Marx put in writing the idea that he knew what the iron laws of history were and that they were inevitably leading to Communism. but, (although it pains me to say it) Abraham Lincoln, at the same time, was saying that a Union victory in the Civil War would accelerate the spread of democracy around the world.
    Now, it seems people are waking up from these delusions. We see the centrifugal forces in human society are very powerful, in spite of the increasing sophistication of technology. What does the future really hold? Hard to say, but if we don't hold on to our spiritual values, which modern thinkers reject in favor or a materialist, economic view of man and his society, things could very well spin out of control.

  2. Anonymous9/9/16

    A great start to a sensible foreign policy that goes too far.

    "To embrace chaos, we have to stop thinking defensively about stability and start thinking offensively about cultivating instability."

    "And chaos may be our best defense..."

    These two quotes seem contradictory.

    As you point out, chaos arises naturally in the uncivilized parts of the world. We don't have to "cultivate" more of this type of anti-civilization chaos. We merely have to do whatever is necessary to selfishly protect and defend the sovereignty of our nation, our citizens and our way of life ("cooperation and individual rights").

    If the use of focused chaos (coercion) for the sole purpose of our national self-defense is what you have in mind, I'm with you.

  3. Infidel9/9/16

    You're probably right about the chaos. I've been thinking about this strategy since your earlier article. While I have barely scratched the surface of the issue, it may be the only practical option. Stability within our borders, chaos without, at least if that is what they choose. Seems similar to Putin's strategy in some ways, creating chaos in potentially hostile adjacent areas. Anyway, I need to do a lot more thinking about this issue, but it may be that you hit on a quite brilliant solution.

  4. Infidel9/9/16

    Oh, just noticed that you mentioned the responsible vs irresponsible issue. Very important. It will take me quite awhile to fully think through all the points you mentioned.

  5. Anonymous9/9/16

    Finally! Thank you, Daniel, for this honest, powerful, and saving message. It holds the potential for phenomenal advancement by people who have achieved rationality, capitalism and liberty. That's us.

    So, why our peculiar benevolent perception of the malaria, violence, junk exporting "Hellholes" you mentioned? We have been brainwashed into a goodie-goodie One World trance by Soros and his ilk. Just consider all the Public Service Announcements (PSA's) we hear. "Most Muslims are Peaceful", "Love Your Brother", "Differences are Only Skin-Deep", "Wealth Bad", "Nuclear and Carbon Bad", "Bicycle Good", "Cultures are Only Opinion", "Respect all Differences".

    Humbug! These poison memes have been fed to us so skillfully by our teachers, preachers, media and idols that we never noticed it. Mark Twain and Andrew Breitbart warned us. More critical thought would be great, but opposing memes may also serve as an antidote.

    I like the word "chaos". It sounds so passive voice and natural. It's so likely to arise among the treacherous wretches of the Islamic World. They can waste themselves and we have plausible deniability.


  6. Every word is true. But, whatever you do, guys, don't call Maxwell Smart to help CHAOS come about. We need someone to get the dictators and terrorist groups at each other's throat.

  7. Infidel9/9/16

    One thing that is hanging me up is trying to figure out the most moral and ethical strategy (hence the most sustainable strategy). The chaos bit might be that, to use an analogy, how does one deal with poisonous spiders? Obviously one doesn't want them in the house, yet they have a place in the outside world. So clearly one wants secure borders to keep them out. I've been kind of hung up on the idea of letting them be, as long as they are in their own environment and not in mine (non-interference). But of course then you have the problem of terrorists firing missiles into your country, which is more difficult to solve.

  8. Anonymous9/9/16

    Great insights as always. We may do well just to get out of the way and let them destroy each other. The author of chaos isn't a good person.

    We were warned about foreign entanglements...here we are.

  9. Anonymous9/9/16

    The slave state called the Ottoman Empire provided slavery and dhimmitude as stability for its kafir al najjis subjects. Particularly offensive was the Janissary program, which forced the families of unbelievers in islam to give up their sons to fight for the Ottomans after converting them to islam.

  10. Another brilliant piece of writing, Daniel. Thank you. You make reading fun. Your economy with words invigorating and your buoyant structure almost leaps off into my face. No one today can write like this. And I agree, this is a clash of civilizations, and it's time we admit it. The Islamic mind is too stringent for peace.

  11. When a state sponsors a terrorist group and that terrorist group attacks us, we should treat it as an act of aggression by the sponsoring state. In ye olden days hostile action against the sponsoring state would have been an automatic option, if practical. But somehow we have gotten away from that.

  12. The Pakistani, N Korean, and Iranian nuclear arsenals are the most immediate existential threat to Western civilization, and must be eliminated, pronto, before they're used, bought, or stolen.

    We either:

    1. Spend $300 Billion+, sending US Military Servicemen on an air or amphibious assault to confiscate or destroy those weapons, repatriating thousands of brave Americans in Flag-draped aluminum transfer cases as a result, OR

    2. From the safety of a Wyoming bunker or USN submarine, launch two MIRV ICBMs to eliminate those threats, for less than $1.5 Billion, with zero US casualties.

    I propose Option #2, calling Beijing and Moscow seconds after launch, identifying our targets. We may ruffle their feathers a bit, but they won't start a war with us over it.

    It's not about what's "fair," and never has been. It's about what's best for America.

  13. "We want to stop Islamic terrorists and governments from harming us. Trying to stabilize failed states and prop up or appease Islamic governments hasn’t worked. Maybe we ought to try destabilizing them."

    Well, we recently gave our greatest enemy in the world -- Iran -- $1.3 billion in untraceable cash.

    I haven't a clue why we are appeasing Iran. It makes no strategic sense whatsoever. I'm still looking for a sensible explanation of our new posture toward them, and how our new policies benefit us. The only thing I can come up with is Valerie Jarrett, but that's a plausible tie without an explanation.

    We had our best opportunity to destabilize Iran with the "Green Revolution" of 2009, and Obama did nothing. Nothing. U2 and Madonna were more clear on the issue of Iranian democracy than Barack Obama.


  14. Anonymous10/9/16

    Daniel, you make a very good point. Congrats for thinking outside the box.

  15. For you, for tomorrow because I know how deeply impacted you were by what happened. I was listening to this from Ofra for another sad reason


  16. Anonymous10/9/16

    Islamist and leftist honchos demand a continued demonstration of total loyalty from their collaborators, failure to do so is always harshly punished, dear leaders are not so dearly loved after all; ask any drunken democrat about deplorable Hillary to proof check. Out of fear, members of such groupings tend to slow down their reaction until being given ‘orthodoxy clearing’.. just before the next disaster strikes. That’s their major vulnerability their slowness and too many holes to plug.

  17. DenisO10/9/16

    Agree that the strategy of the Academic elites that have driven our Middle East policy has been a long dismal failure, and it needs to change. However, I disagree that only by supporting the enemies of the tyrants and promoting chaos is the best alternative. You say "...If stability isn’t achievable, maybe we should stop trying to achieve it..." I think it is achievable. Few Governments, there, are unstable and short-lived. Since the time of Alexander, it has been one tyranny in most States keeping stability. Saddam controlled with an iron hand for 24 yrs before we threw him out. The Saudi royal family has dictated internal stability for 150 yrs; Jordan 65 yrs, and Syria has been ruled by tyrants since before the Ottomans. It's only when tyrants are displaced that the word "Caliphate" begins to be heard and start trouble. We need to cultivate tyrants, protect and threaten them if they don't control the radicals. That has worked for centuries and the violence and be-headings have stayed at home.

  18. Please read this pro-Israel article:


  19. Infidel21/9/16

    I saw something in one of Keegan's books today, which seems to confirm the correctness of your chaos theory.

  20. Anonymous28/9/16

    Dear Daniel Triplett;
    Your assessment of the DPRK, Pakistan, Iran nuclear threat is correct. DPRK's impunity of China's sponsorship and Pakistan, Iran's Islamic Jihad insanity make them undeterrable or even vaguely predictable.

    Of course, reduce these rabid enemies of humanity to a state incapable of aggression for many generations. ICBM's of course. Their women and children will die. Not one of our soldiers will.

    That's what is necessary; it's called war. Thank you Patriot.


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