One of the major themes in our book, The Rockets’ Red Glare, is the alliance between two very disparate and even hostile terror groups – al Qaeda and the domestic hate group WAR (White Aryan Resistance). A lot of people find this possibility unbelievable, an obvious contradiction to our dedication to “Forecast Fiction.” How could two groups whose long-term goal is the eradication of the other come together and plan and execute a joint attack?
The phrase “the enemy of my enemy is my friend” is generally thought to be an ancient Arabic proverb. According to the Yale Book of Quotations, it actually came from Kautilya, the “Indian Machiavelli,” in the Arthashastra, a foundational text of military strategy written in Sanskrit around the 4th century B.C.
Throughout history we have seen sworn enemies come together in the face of a common threat. The United States allied with Joseph Stalin to defeat Hitler’s Nazis. You cannot get two societies more at odds than those. After the war, the US supported murderous dictators such as Pinochet in Chile and Seko in Zaire in the Cold War with the USSR. And they in turn allied with their traditional enemy China and with anti-Communist Nasser in Egypt. In China, the arch-enemies Mao and Chiang Kai-shek allied to fight the Japanese before renewing their civil war.
And all of these unlikely alliances have taken place in the last 80 years. We have all of human history before that, full of the same phenomenon. Imagine the others that have taken place since Kautilya first codified the concept.
In 2006, Prof. George Michael of the University of Virginia’s College at Wise, published his study called The Enemy of My Enemy in which he explored the possibilities of cooperation between militant foreign Islamic groups and domestic right-wing hate groups. He noted that they share “fervent anti-Semitism, accompanied by strong pro-Palestinian views, anger over Israel’s influence on American policymakers, and opposition to the Iraq War and the U.S. presence in the Middle East.”
So here’s today’s kicker. The BBC’s in-depth research into the Boston Marathon bomber, radical Muslim terrorist Tamerlan Tsarnaev, uncovered that he “subscribed to publications espousing white supremacy and government conspiracy theories.” It is simply naïve to believe that these two groups, or others of similar beliefs, would not cooperate to attack America. These groups, despite their antipathy towards one another, are both so certain of their righteousness and ultimate predominance that expediency is seen as simply the end justifying the means.
And this presents a whole new challenge to law enforcement and homeland security. How many more Timothy McVeigh’s do you suppose are out there? And how many foreign terrorists eager to make their acquaintance?
A spokesperson for Tsarnaev’s Mosque in Cambridge, Nicole Mossalam, said he was an angry young man. “I would say he was just a Muslim of convenience.”
Isn’t that what this is all about? What is convenient today to accomplish my goals right now, working with whoever can help me? Tomorrow will take care of itself.