Sunday, January 25, 2015

Three Out of Five isn't Bad

Normally, I don't have much confidence that Fareed Zakaria can find his own buttocks with both hands and a GPS signal. But he did at least grab a hand full with this article that at least starts with the premise that we have to fight Islamist jihadis.

Zakaria has a four-part solution:

Washington and its allies can support Muslim moderates, help their societies modernize and integrate those that do. But that’s for the long haul. Meanwhile, Washington and its allies must adopt a strategy that has four elements: intelligence, counterterrorism, integration and resilience (ICIR).

He at least recognizes that friendly autocrats fueled Islamist opposition. That's why in the long run I think the Arab Spring could bring success since it was founded on the idea that democracy should be the alternative to autocrats or mullahs.

His intelligence focus is good. As he says, we need it from on-the-ground sources to both defend ourselves and to focus our attacks.

Counterterrorism is the work of drones and special forces direct action in his thinking.

Integration is the long term hope that sees Moslems integrating better in Europe. We've done a much better job here, but we are a nation of ideas and not of blood and soil, so I don't know if that is a sound hope on its own.

More to the point, integration has to mean the victory of moderate Moslems in the Islamic Civil War that we are basically collateral damage as jihadis seek to define Islam their way and snuff out moderates who'd rather not have their religion be a death cult.

So far, so good.

His fourth point is just twisted. By resilience he means we should not get panicked and overly worked up over the terrorism as the other three factors are allowed to work.

This seems to be a general theme of the liberal spectrum. They believe conservatives are panicked over what a nuanced view of the world would see as mere noise.

But I've never been panicked about the jihadi threat and I don't see conservatives as being panicked. What those of us who wish to fight the jihadis do is take the threat seriously rather than blathering on about "why do they hate us?" and coming up with tons of reasons why it is really our fault, when you think about it.

There is a difference between panic and resolve to win. Why that seems so difficult to grasp is beyond me.

We have been resilient. We do go on with our lives. We do that so successfully that other people see fit to note that since 9/11 only our military has been at war while our people have been "at the mall."

Or have you been too busy to shop because you are pulling guard duty tonight at the road block at the front of your cul-de-sac with other members of your local defense militia on the look out for dark-skinned foreigners who've escaped the internment camps?

Oh, there aren't any of those things here and you have been shopping and spending all along? There hasn't been any sign of an anti-Moslem backlash here? Well good. Now stop whining about panic and lack of resilience.

Still, we do need resilience. Why Zakaria doesn't see that we've displayed it is beyond me.

There is another problem with the resilience theme. To assume that the function of terrorism is simply to terrorize us in incomplete. It isn't always about us.

Brutal terrorism against the West is also a recruiting tool. Videos of beheadings and bomb blasts and planes flying into buildings are part of the recruiting process for jihadis. That stuff inspires the proto-jihadis sitting around with pent up rage against the world around them that has left them molding away in a society that always seems to fall farther behind the rest of the world.

So even if we had the perfect resilience as Zakaria defines it and shrug off every terrorism death here as something that pales before auto accidents and perhaps even lightning strikes and shark attacks, the jihadis would seek to kill us.

What Zakaria fails to see what we need is military intervention. He explicitly states (and cites an earlier article he wrote) that more military intervention is not the answer to ending Islamic radicalism.

Given that the answer is ultimately an Islamic Reformation that wins the Islamic Civil War for the good guys, I can't argue against that point.

But the problem is getting to that ultimate point in the long run. Until then, military intervention absolutely is part of the solution--or at least part of the effort to contain the problem and keep it away from our shores until the solution is achieved.

If we are facing a threat with a government that has the power on the ground to provide ground power and intelligence, we can restrict our military intervention to air power and other support--perhaps relying on allies and military contractors for much of that.

If the host government is less capable, we may need to provide special forces and other assets to help provide intelligence, as well as to work with regular Army and Marine troops to train the local forces to be good enough.

If the host government is even weaker, we may need to supplement or even supersede their forces until we can build up host government ground forces to take over the role all or in part.

If the local government is not a host and in fact supports the jihadi enemy, we may need to use military intervention to overthrow the regime or just punish the regime with the goal of compelling them to end or reduce that support to "acceptable" levels.

Military power certainly can't solve this problem. But is absolutely necessary to bolster the local forces who fight on the battlefield and fight for the soul of Islam, as well as necessary to contain the problem away from our shores as much as possible.

Remember, the use of military intervention in Iraq where we killed lots of jihadis was ultimately the factor that led more Moslems to condemn jihadi terrorism.

Terrorism was never a fatal flaw in jihadi reputation in the Islamic world as long as Western Infidels died. But when fellow Moslems started being blown up so visibly in Iraq, Jordan, and even Saudi Arabia? Well, that's not funny, any more.

So call it ICMIR and just be grateful that Zakaria got this close to the target. It's called the Long War for a reason, you know.