Whose responsibility is it? #10: Of Brexit, ISIS, and Illusions of Greatness

For only the second time in my life I have been delaying sharing my thoughts in a more public way, and in writing, with persons who may have differing views. In both cases the problem is simply damned if I do, and damned by my conscience if I don’t. But in everything there is a responsibility, if only to encourage thought and discussion, towards taking a path that may encounter challenges.

I interact with many persons of all ages in my daily activities. There is an apparent disconnect between the older (mainly migrated), the middle aged (focused on making a living despite challenges), and the young who are mobile (internationally) and have no history of the struggles of the previous generations. It is in effect a loss of intellectual capital, family businesses failing to cross generations, and a withdrawal from local issues and events, due to fear in some ways, or simply disinterest.

As a child of the 1950’s, a teenager of the 1960’s, and a working man since the 1970’s, the deterioration of our Jamaican Dream flashes before me, and its death is represented by the rigor mortis that envelopes our country. Growth is static, crime is on the rise, gangs and scammers represent the emerging “nouveau riche”, murder does not even raise eyebrows, collectivism is at an all-time low, “informer fi dead” is the moral fibre of our times.

Let me start at the beginning. In 2002, I, along with a small team of researchers, looked into the growth, maturity, decline, and death of Empires. The original purpose was to predict who the leader of the new world order would be. Would it be China, India, BRICS, EU, or some other grouping? Also what was the relative time of an Empire based on prior economic, social, and moral evidence, and how did the longevity compare. Could we predict the changes and watch for the signs?

I am going to leave out the economic trends in this article as they are easy for anyone so-minded with a working computer and internet access to see for themselves. The other factors are a little more subtle and I had to look many times in order to see the almost invisible linkages. I will spend some time on these less noticed factors particularly in decline.

  1. The Greek-Roman-British-American seemed to have half-life connectivity. Therefore 1000years, 500 years, 250 years, 125 years seemed to be a pattern (roughly).
  2. Communication speeds seemed to be one determining factor of changes in longevity. Respectively: sailing ships; road networks; telegraph and radio; television, air travel, and real time voice and data; seemed to be related factors.
  3. Social organization and changes in governance practices seemed to be another. Military might exclusion/containment, struggles within the more inclusive democratic principles, parliamentary debates without a firm direction, lobby groups, and the influences of the conquered were all present during decline.
  4. The devolution of captured lands, to colonies, to self-determination and inclusion in trade and taxation concerns became the norm. The references to the tax assessment at the time of Jesus’ birth; The Scottish revolt; The French Revolution; the Haitian Revolution; The Boston Tea Party; and the Morant Bay War are a few reminders.
  5. The democratic power control shift to the captured in rising to the equality in the halls of power, led me to thinking that the rule of the captured/enslaved, moving towards ruling the captors was significant in the decline stages.
  6. Democracy being influenced by lobby groups, quickly adopted a weakening attitude to religious, moral, philosophical, and sexual, changes that some may describe as decay from the original features of the growth stage.
  7. In most cases the changes stirred internal differences sufficient for unrest, resistance, revolution, and a vulnerability easily exploited by the succeeding “Empire” to acquire using military strategy. Athens burned; Rome burned; London burned; and who knows what is burning in the USA at this time.

Therefore BREXIT; ISIS; Religious tensions; Racial tensions; suspicion of law enforcement; moral challenges with the legal and social rights of the GLT communities in many countries versus religion; and the rise of historical tribal allegiances of several countries, gives some credence to the opportunity for the emergence of a “new empire”.

Several scenarios/possibilities come to mind:


  • - Has the narrow mindset of the anti-immigrant/Britain “great again” sentiment, been provoked by a clever external stimulus?
  • - Have the overt actions of the military that provoked both World Wars, and the ambitions of Germany’s European expansion been replaced by an economic strategy that annexes Britain, France, Spain, and Russia, simply by having the monetary power at this time?
  • - The strategy effectively reduces the ambition of Russia to re-consolidate the Soviet Union as they were committed to military invasions.
  • - Has the generous stance on refugees taken by Germany simply provided that country with a source of a reasonably skilled and low wage workforce that can enhance the invention/innovation/production that Germany needs in order to slow down the advance of China?
  • - Will Britain lose Scotland and Northern Ireland; oil revenues from the North Sea; and simply revert to the dull and unproductive years under the then Harold Wilson leadership?
  • - Will there be a reaction between the leaders of Britain and Germany that may differ in any real way from the predictable testosterone of the “old boys club”? It is as yet a gender status that may or may not be significant.
  • - BREXIT brings Theresa May, Nicola Sturgeon (Scotland), and Angela Merkel into a potentially confrontational interaction. British emotive populism versus German stoic clinical execution, and Scottish secession; it will be interesting.

These are questions that require a new analysis by persons that can think outside the box.

ISIS and terrorism:

  • - The increased terrorism related events have taken on a new significance. The loss of life explanations is now securely pointed at the “terrorist Islamic forces”, and I ask is this focus religious, political, revolutionary, or something else?
  • - Gone are the earlier explanations of genocide, civil wars, resentment of exploitation, madness and its variations (Jonestown mass suicide; Waco Texas; Guy Fawkes; assassination attempts and successes; and the Cold War). Every mentally challenged person and religious zealot is singularly classified as “terrorist”.
  • - What is the goal of terrorism? Is it religious control; state control; economic control; world domination; or something else? I don’t know but there must be some thread of cohesion.
  • - Is terrorism a “manipulated disease” going beyond chemical and biological warfare, and if so, who leads and who benefits?
  • Again, I don’t know but I would like to.

Leadership and reactive power struggles:

  • - Is USA President Obama seen as a “Black man”?
  • - If he is, then does he conjure in some minds the effigy of the conquered/enslaved rising to great prominence?
  • - If he does, then does he offer an opportunity/need for the “ former conquerors” to re-establish their hegemony through the Trump/Clinton battle?
  • - Do those persons fear integration of diverse ethnicities as being destructive rather than progressive?
  • - Does see the unfolding events as being characteristic of an Empire living through the last days of its own demise?
  • - Can the USA survive the next election in the face of benign becoming overt racism? Is this the re-birth of Martin Luther King, Stokely Carmichael, Eldridge Cleaver, Rap Brown, Angela Davis, Malcolm X, Rosa Parkes, and will they be accompanied by their Hispanic counterparts?
  • - Will the random shooting of white law enforcement officers escalate in number and in widespread regions?

I hope that they know that their Nation was built by immigrants and that holds true today.

Disparate Groups:

  • - These include the NRA, GLT, Green parties, Environmental Lobbies, Fundamentalists, Atheists, far right and left, and many others.
  • - Although they may seem to have limited scope objectives, their respective causes have forced them towards great organizational focus, and they have become very efficient.
  • - When they attain their original objectives will they disband, or will they realize that organization is power, and will they expand their horizons towards State power?
  • History abounds with examples of special interest groups that just kept expanding. Labour unions to political parties; taxation to representation; anti-corruption to revolution are a few examples. Where will this round end?

The end of an Empire is usually not a quiet event. It stimulates a struggle for power; others attempt to exploit the vacuum of organization and rules; and it is frequently a destroyer of knowledge that sometimes takes the new emerging power a very long time to replicate.

Where does Jamaica stand? Do we win or lose in the turmoil? Can we predict and act? Will we simply wait and murmur not? Whose responsibility is it?

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