Roger Chapin
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Irreversible winds of change are sweeping across the Middle East and the long repressed Arab Street is at last awakening to the resounding call of freedom and reform.

However, the critical question yet to be answered is whether the present unrest will ultimately result in Iranian style radical Islamic theocracies replacing today’s authoritarian regimes, or, will democratically inclined, reform-driven states emerge. The former would be an absolute disaster for the West, with an Islamic Caliphate stretching its axis of evil from the Indian Ocean to the Atlantic, and the radicals gaining a stranglehold on well over half the world’s oil and the Suez Canal to boot. They would then likely extend their reach southward across much of Africa.

With huge natural resources under their control and aided by massive Chinese investment capital and technical support, the radicals would pose an intolerable threat to the economies of the free world. But far worse, with their newfound wealth they would amass a nuclear arsenal that could enable them to either bring the West to its knees by threatening Armageddon, or actually bring about Ahmadinejad’s dream of “a world without America” and “annihilating Israel.” And let us also be mindful that but a single nuclear missile, fired from a freighter off our shores and detonated some 300 miles above Kansas, could generate an electromagnetic pulse (EMP) that would knock out virtually our entire electric grid system and, according to the chairman of the congressionally authorized EMP Commission, kill 70 to 90% of the entire U.S. population from starvation and disease within one year!

We must understand that the fanatical messianicly driven radical Islamic zealots, with their apocalyptic mentality, will not be deterred by the prospect of losing tens of millions of their own people in a nuclear exchange that would leave them as the unchallenged masters of the Muslim world and perhaps well beyond.

For those lost souls who would have the U.S. remain essentially a spectator to today’s history in the making, I would argue that without active American intervention and a strong effort to both influence and help shape the ongoing course of events, it’s more likely than not that the radicals will sooner or later prevail across the Middle East. And even if freedom movements in some countries initially succeed, absent extensive western technical and other assistance to help build free market economies in which businesses can blossom and job opportunities be created, it will not be long before the desperation and mass frustration arising from failed expectations leads to bloody radical Islamic takeovers.

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Roger Chapin

Roger Chapin has had a distinguished and varied career in both the nonprofit and entrepreneurial worlds.