Thursday, May 26, 2016

Nation Building is Hard But Not Impossible

Let's discuss winning the war and losing the peace:

Every Friday, just yards from a statue of Bill Clinton with arm aloft in a cheery wave, hundreds of young bearded men make a show of kneeling to pray on the sidewalk outside an improvised mosque in a former furniture store.

The mosque is one of scores built here with Saudi government money and blamed for spreading Wahhabism — the conservative ideology dominant in Saudi Arabia — in the 17 years since an American-led intervention wrested tiny Kosovo from Serbian oppression.

Since then — much of that time under the watch of American officials — Saudi money and influence have transformed this once-tolerant Muslim society at the hem of Europe into a font of Islamic extremism and a pipeline for jihadists.

We stayed after the 1999 victory over Serbian forces, although our total strength is quite low now.

But we apparently just stayed in our "basestar" at Camp Bondsteel for force protection rather than try to make Kosovo something worth fighting to create.

The Saudis, on the other hand, set about on nation building despite the apparently inhospitable human terrain of moderate, pro-American Moslems grateful for American assistance in throwing off Serbian rule and cruelty.

We have belatedly reacted, but rolling back Islamism is harder than preventing it from being planted.

So here we are, 17 years later in Kosovo, with radical Moslems having gained ground to build the caliphate. Because Saudi Arabia stayed for the long haul for nation building even though the job was tough.

Do read it all.