World War III has already begun, but it is not what anyone imagined just a few years ago. WWIII only means that most of the nations of the world are involved, not yet that fighting is everywhere, though it is widespread and it may yet come to that. To understand my thesis, we must understand some terms.
- Fascism originated in Italy. It is against both conservatism and liberalism, arguing instead for a strong state (nationalism) with a hybrid or mixed economy, somewhat directed by the state. This allows faster preparation for war. Fascism holds that violence is not a wholly negative strategy and may have positive outcomes. Mussolini held that (1) Racism had no place in Fascism, only national unity was important, and (2) he wanted to create a New Roman Empire. See Wikipedia discussion. Initially Mussolini disliked Hitler and thought he was crazy. One of the strong motivations for Fascism is a sense of community decline. It is part of the cycle of war, money and trade, and in the update to Money, Wealth & War I point out it arises when defeat of a group or country is slow or incomplete. By the way, September 12, 2015, Saturday, will be a one day free promo for the eBook on Amazon.
- Racial Fascism, aka Nazism, added the factor of blame on some racial group. External blame allows humans to avoid seeing themselves as at fault and therefore powerless. In other words, it is a sort of shortcut to raising self esteem. Communism under the Soviets also used this technique, blaming the rulers and the bourgeois (materialist middle class, a lot like Americans).
- Religious Fascism – Therefore, if you believe your religious faction has been picked on and is in decline, and you blame other cultures or religions, and if you believe violence is a sanctioned and effective method of reversing your group’s fortunes, then by our definitions that makes you a Religious Fascist, very closely akin to a Nazi. In fact there was a religious Christian vs. Jew element to Hitler’s Nazism.
- Islamic Fascism – While any Radical Islamist could be seen as a Religious Fascist, since the fall of the Taliban the only organized political force controlling a large amount of territory which fits this definition is the Islamic State in Syria, Iraq and the Levant (ISIS or ISIL).
- The Problem with Islam – There is a serious problem that many of the world’s political leaders are trying to “cover up,” which is that the founder of Islam, Mohammad, appears to have been a Religious Fascist, advocating violence and oppression against virtually every other religion (some more than others). Since he wrote the Koran, this is encoded in a highly revered scripture, with many on-going (not just historical, as in the case of Judaism) injunctions to kill or oppress non-Muslims. As long as this scripture is intact and revered, Islamic Fascism will recur. There are passages in Jewish texts about the “promised land” that have a weaker effect (and it was in connection with these that the historical injunctions were issued), and in Christianity in Revelation, which while it doesn’t specifically say that God orders Christians to commit such atrocities, suggests that God is going to commit them and leads to cults such as the Branch Davidians who get the idea that they are required to “help.” I would be in favor of purging all three scriptures of such tempting references.
- The Allies – WWII and to a lesser extent WWI were wars against Fascism, and brought together a large number of “allies” who both before and after the war were not otherwise allied at all. Both alliances included Russia and western nations, and elements of if not nations in the Middle East, and at least one Asian nation (e.g. China, Philippines).
Now I present the evidence as to why I think such a broad alliance of ordinary enemies is again forming against a fascist threat, involving most of the nations of the planet.
- Iran, a long enemy of the U.S. and Saudi Arabia, has already joined the fight against ISIS/ISIL. No doubt this alliance has made easing of sanctions and a nuclear treaty with Iran more palatable.
- Russia has declared itself committed to the fight, and is building a military base in Syria for this purpose. See article. The U.S., despite being against Russia’s ally the Assad regime, has declared it will not support attacks directly against Damascus, and is not protesting nearly as much as you might expect against the Russian move.
- Peace seems to have “broken out” in the last week in Ukraine. Russia is moving to damp things out there, seeing the greater opportunity in Syria. As a result, France is proposing to end sanctions against Russia sooner rather than later. See article. In my opinion, this is going to now happen, because it is clearly in everyone’s interest, even Russia’s, by their own statements. They haven’t annexed eastern Ukraine and they aren’t going to. It is too expensive, a basket case. And they have redeployed those “little green men” to Syria.
- The Economic Factor – OIL! – I have made the argument wars occur because it becomes a cheaper way for nations or people to get what they want from others than trade. If you think ISIS is fighting only over religion, think again. That was Al Queda that was doing that, and they were pointlessly taking the fight to the U.S. and other cultural enemies, and though stirring up a lot of trouble, getting nowhere. ISIS is fighting a practical economic war for control of oil fields in northern Syria and Iraq. The combined northern Iraq and Kurdish oil production is about 1 million barrels per day – about equal to the total production capacity of Iran! To control that would make ISIS economically as strong as Iran, who is about to become a nuclear power sanctioned by treaty with the U.S. (anti-nuke provisions expire in 10 years). Oil was also a factor in WWII. Japan attacked the U.S. because the U.S. had imposed an oil embargo, and Germany, also lacking domestic oil, desperately sought to control oil resources in northern Africa, and a warm water port to access it via seizing France.
- Other Symptoms – Ahead of this impending conflict, people are fleeing en masse. The media are already reporting European migrations as “the largest since WWII.” Oddly enough, where people were fleeing from Germany before and during WWII, now they are fleeing to Germany. Merkel says the “breathtaking flow of migrants will occupy and change Germany forever.” I guess when Hitler tried to get rid of the Jews, he didn’t consider the long term blowback that would eventually reverse all his efforts to purify Germany.
- Asia – the missing link – The factor that prevents the anti-ISIS campaign from immediately involving the entire world and thus being technically qualified as WWIII, is the lack of Asian participation. China has a non-interventionist policy. However, Chinese security is threatened by ISIS, see white paper. China stated as of February that it is willing to strengthen cooperation in fighting ISIS. And China has a lot of strategic partners and interests in Africa and the Middle East which will come under threat if ISIS continues to grow – and indeed ISIS is spreading to Libya and other places even while it is under attack in its base region. A week ago we were not talking about Russia joining against ISIS and were still mostly worried about Russia in the Ukraine. But Russia’s interests there, and ally Assad, now has them involved. The same kind of rapid turnaround could happen with China.
- And what of Russia’s interests in the Middle East? – Russia is not a member of OPEC, but has recently passed Saudi Arabia on oil production (actually, they are about neck and neck). Both countries are tapped out and cannot easily produce more. Further, Russia is hurting from low oil prices and seeks leverage to get them back up. Putin and the president of Venezula were discussing “ideas” on how they might do this while in China this past week. Using their planned base in Syria, Russia could attack ISIS in both Syria and Iraq, using deniable little green men, and other surrogates (Assad’s forces), and disrupt the one million bbd production there, spiking oil prices in the short term. In the long term, Russia might be able to acquire some of this production capacity for Russian companies, even if they do not directly acquire the territory.
Disclosure of conflict of interest: I am long OIL via ETF, BP, and Russia via ETF. I would love to see a spike in oil prices. This may affect the objectivity of my analysis.
P.S. Is Putin a Fascist? Putin uses some of the rhetoric. He claims Russia has been picked on by western countries and builds up his military. But he does not openly advocate war. He declares it would be ridiculous for Russia to invade Europe, and accomplished limited territorial expansion by use of “little green men.” I think Putin is a criminal capitalist, behaving like a totalitarian communist, and smart enough to keep his militaristic views toned down and avoid full scale war with the west as the Russians have for the last century and a half. In the last open war they had with the west, they lost Crimea, and they’d like to keep it this time.