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Newsweek: The Price of Instability

Author: Parag Khanna
March 3, 2009

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There is still no better theory of human motivation than Abraham Maslow's "hierarchy of human needs." Maslow, an American psychologist writing in the 1940s and '50s, argued that man's primary or basic needs are physiological: food, water, sleep, shelter. Only with these needs satisfied could one move up the pyramid toward security and employment, friendship and family, toward self-actualization and morality. No matter what your religion, you are human first and faithful second.

Muslims, like any other people, are searching for order more than they are searching for Islamic order. Governments are supposed to provide the basic needs of justice, welfare and security. But when they don't--as in Pakistan's Northwest Frontier Province (NWFP) and Swat Valley, or across the third world and much of the Muslim world--commanding loyalty and morality becomes anybody's game. Islamist groups like the Taliban, Jamaat-e-Islami, Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas or Hizbullah quickly move into the fray to provide stability, services and justice. Are the young boys from NWFP who are paid 1,000 rupees a day to leave their families and march with guns and sticks into Swat really radical Muslims, or just kids who need jobs?

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