As I write, US along with NATO forces are steaming into positions off Syria to inflict more damage on Assad and potentially his Russian often mercenary allies, to teach him for a second time that chemical weapons are banned. The Syrian War is a human tragedy because of just two men: Assad the leader of Syria, effectively a dictator, and Vladimir Putin, his main ally. Alone, Assad probably would have lost this war. With Russian arms he is able to inflict the worst kind of punishment against civilians who happen to be in enemy areas! We need to ask the question: what caused this to happen? What drove the rebels to rise? Why didn’t the West act to stop the bombing earlier? What is the UN doing? And why at this late stage would Assad use chemical weapons knowing that these are outlawed and will surely bring retribution?
The cause of the war is quite complicated if you read lots of journalists views. However, in the grander scheme of things the cause is simple: it was essentially part of the so called Arab Spring a movement founded by people wanting better lives being able to unite using Facebook. The influence of this particular social medium along with Twitter seems to be a general part of the creation of a perfect market place: just like Amazon, Ebay and Alibaba help to lower prices by localising and globalising competition simultaneously, Facebook and Twitter seem to democratise it.
Cambridge Analytica have shown is that Facebook is a great marketing vehicle for politicians. It is also open to being easily used to subvert election results.
In the case of the Arab Spring most of these movements happened as an indirect result of the stress caused by the financial collapse in 2007 to 2008, a banking crisis deeper than the 1929 stock market crash, which plunged banks and nations into massive debt. It was initially triggered by a oil crisis which doubled and tripled the costs of bunker fuel oil causing large companies in the US to stop imports from China and lay off workers en masse!
Now I want to look forward. If such technology evolves what happens when the entire world faces a global crisis like the loss of economically extractable oil?
That answer I will consider in my next blog.