When the Soviet Empire imploded in the late 90's, I puzzled over what sort of paradigm we would create to fill the power vacuum.
The Manichean dichotomies of Light and Dark, Good and Evil, were the poles between which we measured our policies through the latter half of the twentieth century.
There was a kind of familiar comfort in the Cold War policy of containment; it almost seemed a shame to bid it farewell. The failed realization of Karl Marx's theory of economics as it played out under the heavy-fisted hegemony of Soviet imperialism was a clear and stalwart enemy of western democracy; how, and why would we wish to replace it?
On September 11, 2001, I began to get my answer.
The horrific sneak attack by a band of Muslim fanatics on the World Trade Center, and the resultant deaths of nearly 3,000 innocents, was a stark harbinger of things to come. Marx and Lenin's secular religion, only recently interred, started to attain the status of a fond memory, in sharp contrast to the seemingly intractable divisions between the democratic West and the autocratic Middle East.
Whatever the putative reasons for the United States' invasion of Iraq, and our de facto involvement in the region, the results were ominously reminiscent of the Crusades.
Capitalism, and its handmaiden, democracy, trumped communism. Can they prevail over, or reach an accommodation with the Arab world?