The Death of Osama Bin Laden and the Hindu Civilization's Role in the Clash of Civilizations
Though the happy news is that Osama Bin Laden is dead, killed yesterday near Islamabad, Pakistan, in a U.S. raid involving naval commandos and CIA paramilitary forces, the unhappy news is that his death has likely upped the ante in the civilizational clash between the West and Islam. The West, led by America, has shown that it can still accomplish any military expedition it may so wish. It has the finances, technology, expertise, and determination still to protect, uphold, and promote its values. The American killing of Osama Bin Laden clearly demonstrates that catastrophic terrorist attacks like those that brought down the New York City World Trade Center will not be enough to take out America, the core state of Western civilization. If this won't work, what will? Some on the side arrayed against the West are asking this question.
The next important attacks against the West will not be by loosely-networked terrorist cells plotting how to explode a suicide bomber at busy intersections in American and European cities but by highly-organized, closely networked organizations determined to explode something like a nuclear device to take out whole cities. The Islamic civilization at present possesses the know-how and funds to produce such weapons of mass destruction. But non-state actors may not yet have the ability to deliver such destructive forces on a large scale. Taking out one city will not be enough to destroy America, so permanently crippling America means taking out not one but many cities. A successful war prosecuted against America and the West, at this point, will necessarily have to directly involve a state actor from Islamic civilization.
As far as the Hindu civilization is concerned, it is mainly situated on the sidelines of this civilizational conflict. But culturally, since Hindu civilization today is itself an unstable composite of Vedantic and Western civilizational values, and since it is in direct conflict with Islam, the Hindu civilization is nevertheless a large stakeholder in the outcome of the clash between the West and Islam. A Western victory would be to the advantage of Hindu civilization, and thus Hindu policy-makers should consider measures to augment Western efforts in this global conflict.
An important advantage members of the Hindu civilization enjoy in this inter-civilizational conflict that the West does not is the closeness Hindus and Muslims have with each other in terms of language and culture, what to speak of geographic proximity. This means that elements of Hindu society have the opportunity to engage elements of Islamic society in an exchange of ideas. Hindus can produce literature and influence Islamic society in a way that the West can never hope to match. However, the greatest obstacle to using this advantage is the Hindu attitude against religious conversion. This attitude instead acts as a wall that culturally keeps exchanges between Hindus and Muslims to minimal levels.
This attitude Hindus have against promoting their own religion has not always existed. Indeed, Hindus formerly and actively promoted their religion and, with it, their civilization. Historically, Hindu civilization at some point was five-times larger than it was today, spreading from Afghanistan to the far-eastern countries. That was not simply the accomplishment of military conquest combined with a steady influx of fecund settlers to conquered areas. The extent, or "market-share," of Hindu civilization was much greater on account of the Hindu civilization's former willingness to spread and promote its own civilizational and religious ideals. The Hindu civilization spread because it excelled in the conquest of hearts.
The present intercivilizational conflict needs such spiritual direction, and the Hindu civilization is best positioned in terms of its historic values, cultural history, and physical proximity to influence the hearts of a major civilizational combattant. It remains to be seen whether the Hindu civilization can once again recover both the genius and gumption to promote values that had at one time resulted in the peaceful spread of such a grand civilization.