Kaplan — who holds the catchy title of “chief geopolitical analyst for Stratfor, a private global intelligence firm” — goes on to worry that in Europe there is now “a resurgence of nationalism and extremism.” He’s not wrong, but is it remotely conceivable that the skinheads and neo-Nazis in Finland, Ukraine and Greece pose as serious a threat to freedom and human rights as do the jihadists of al-Qaida and Iran, or even the more gradualist Islamists of the Muslim Brotherhood?
Similarly, in Asia, Kaplan sees China, Japan and other nations “rediscovering nationalism,” undermining the conventional wisdom that “we live in a post-national age.” He adds: “The disputes in Asia are not about ideology or any uplifting moral philosophy; they are about who gets to control space on the map.” True, but is the revival of such nationalistic sentiment really a crisis or even a major problem? Meanwhile, much more significantly, Islamists are offering an alternative to both the old nationalist and newer post-nationalist models.
Islamists insist that one’s primary identity is — and must be — based on religion, not nationality, not citizenship, not race, not class. More to the point, they demand that their religion be acknowledged as superior to all others. They are committed to making their religiously derived ideology the basis for revolutionary transformation not only in the so-called Muslim world but also in Africa, Asia, Europe, the United States — anywhere there are Muslims who can be enlisted into the struggle. As Hassan al-Banna, founder of the Muslim Brotherhood famously put it: “It is the nature of Islam to dominate, not to be dominated, to impose its law on all nations and to extend its power to the entire planet.”
They see the global map not as fractured into blood-based nations squabbling over “space” but divided into just two spheres: the Dar al-Islam, the realm where Muslims rule, and the Dar al-Harb, where infidels still hold power and must be fought and, in time, decisively defeated so that the Dar al-Islam can become universal.