My second novel, Christmas in Mecca, has been slow-going these last few months. I'm eager to get it finished in 2010. Like the first novel, the storyline has a cubist structure that mixes multiple media of written text. Here's a memo that contributes to the plot; it also highlights one of the thematic tensions of the novel.
As always, I'm open to any commentary or electronic rotten tomatoes that you might want to throw this way :)
The fictional memo:
MEMORANDUM FOR: The United States Secretary of Defense
Subject: A Malthusian Paradox and its Implications to Long-Term American Strategic Defense Policy
Almost twenty-five percent of all human beings are Muslims. Many live in the world’s underdeveloped regions, including sub-Saharan Africa, India, Pakistan, and Indonesia, areas with relatively high total fertility rates that range from 3 to 5.5.
By contrast, only about five percent of all human beings are American. We have a fertility rate of 2.
There are many more of them than there are of us. Given relative birth rates, the disparity will widen significantly in our lifetimes. This demographic certainty will induce a global transformation in the coming four decades that will result in a re-creation of humanity’s profile, a new reality that will have enormous implications to the lives of our children and their children.
Further Data-Driven Comparisons of “Us” vs. “Them”
As the world moves into the near future of the 2020s, the U.S. is graying. The percent of our population aged 65 and over will rise from 12% to 18%. They (in the context of this paper, “they” refers to the world’s Muslim population in total) will see a resurgence of youth in the same decade. The increase of those aged 15-24 in Algeria is projected at 32%, in Libya it is 29% and in Iran it is 30%. They are growing and they are getting younger. We are effectively shrinking and we are getting older. These effects have already begun and will continue to manifest in our immediate future.
A Conclusion, a Safe Assumption, the Million Dollar Question
The author concludes that, in the long run, we cannot beat them physically, one-against-one, head-to-head. Given the relative certainty of population demographics, we can safely assume that they will not go away. Our question now becomes: might we?
Accepting the mathematics of demographic trends and accepting the associated conclusion, assumption and question in the preceding discussion, it is in the best interest of our nation to find a means to exist in peaceful stasis with the world of youth and vigor that is growing around our aging populous. Our short-term military skirmishes fail to create long-term solutions. They soak our dwindling fiscal resources and create the irretrievable loss of American lives. They exacerbate our relationship with a growing and youth-full enemy and they provide the enemy a windfall of facts and images that feed their sophisticated networks and outlets of propaganda. Given these facts, the U.S. should refrain from expeditionary military exploits while retaining adequate military defenses for protecting our homeland. We must simultaneously and surreptitiously use a wide range of non-military means in the long-term to transform the growing youth of the enemy.
Transformation will be a long-term, multi-generational task involving multiple prongs of consistently applied effort. Islam will continue to grow no matter what we do. Rather than fight its inevitable growth, we must work to transform that growth in ways that serve American security and interests. Our primary objective must be to work to establish and legitimize a liberal or reform branch of Islam that is packaged in the appealing iconography of Western popular culture. This packaging will have maximum appeal to the growing youth populations in majority-Muslim countries in the 2020s. They, the youth of those populations, the inheritors of their cultures, can be transformed into citizens who are more tolerant of and more apt to peacefully co-exist with our America.
Although wary of dichotomous thinking that espouses black-and-white options and conclusions, the author believes that our choice with regard to these growing youth populations is binary: fight them or transform them. It is a certainty that our one nation of fewer elderly cannot successfully wage long term and successful warfare against many nations of many youth. Accepting that , our choice is made: we cannot fight them; we must transform them.
Mechanics of Implementation
The U.S. Government must establish one surreptitious and well-funded office that will publically operate as part of the State Department’s existing global outreach infrastructure. In fact, this office will be led by the Director of the Psychological Operations Unit of the Office of Civilian Support to Military Operations in the Department of Defense. The office will have the primary and long-term objectives to:
1. Introduce the iconography of the West’s popular culture into majority Muslim regions with a target focus on the youth in those regions.
2. Create and maintain globally available broad-based media outlets so that those images and iconography may continue to flow to those targeted populations in a steady, easily accessible and uninterrupted stream.
3. Create and promulgate a branch of liberal Islam that blunts aggressive or oppressive elements of the original theology and that accepts and perhaps even embraces and uses the iconography of the West’s popular culture. This branch of “reform Islam” must include philosophies and precepts for maximum appeal to persons in the 15-24 age range. Youth-appealing components include tolerance and acceptance of all forms of creative, social and sexual expression.
In order for this strategy to be effective, this office must be established immediately and must operate uninterrupted and with the above three stated objectives through at least 2050.
Request that the Secretary of Defense provide interim approval of this strategy. Upon receipt of interim approval, this office will develop detailed plans for implementation of the policies recommended herein.
Sun-Tzu offered martial wisdom in his chapter on offensive strategy in The Art of War. He noted that standing victorious in one hundred battles is not the apex of strategic skill. The apex of strategic skill is to subdue your enemy without engaging in battle. The strategy outlined herein is consistent with Sun-Tzu’s long-true axiom.
Harold R. Hawkins, PhD
Office of the Director, Psychological Operations Unit
Office of Civilian Support to Military Operations
Department of Defense
Director, Psychological Operations Unit, Office of Civilian Support to Military Operations