I have just finished watching a feature on BBC World on the republican heartland in the U.S., in this case Lancaster, Ohio. I was literally thunderstruck by the amazing conviction and belief with these friendly, gentle, normal looking, casually dressed westerners would speak about their world views, their support for their president, the need for the invasion of North Korea and Iran, the sanctity of marriage, the evil of abortion, the need for "people with conviction and belief " (=christians) to be in the highest level of the United States government and the firm belief that the U.S. should ignore any criticism of "the Europeans" and just spread evangelical values around the world.

These were not folks from the next gutter: no, these were academics: teachers, a priest, the head of the police department.

It beggars belief: this is a medieval society with medieval beliefs with islands of enlightenment which are perceived as heretic. It has twentyfirst century technology at its fingertips and the most powerful and technically advanced armed force ever seen in this part of the solar system. And the men and women these friendly folks have chosen are running the show.

I apologize for sounding a bit high strung, but the realisation that these people actually still exist (well, at least 53 million of them) and are not an invention of The Guardian has made me think about the future world order.

Somehow international terrorism doesn't feel like the biggest threat around here anymore...