Sunday, June 26, 2016

Again, This is a Long War

Max Boot discusses Orlando and our response to that attack. The way a hate-filled Islamist ideology intersects with America's free society is certainly complicated and there are a lot of issues we should rationally discuss. We must discuss intelligence, passive security, war and use of force abroad, civil liberties, and the nature of Islam and how it responds to jihadi wars on Islam and non-Moslems.

You can agree or disagree on individual points. But the most important part of this war on (jihadi) terror is the Islamic world's reaction to Islamism:

The ultimate solution to the rise of Islamist terrorism must involve a revolution of thinking in the Islamic world similar to the Reformation in Europe. The U.S. has a limited capacity to bring that about but must do what it can by backing Muslim moderates—and, yes, they do exist. Tunisia has become a democracy, and its Ennahda party has eschewed Islamism—that is, religious rule—to become a “Muslim Democratic” party, echoing Europe’s Christian Democratic parties. That is a small but hopeful development.

While we wait for the gradual transformation of the Muslim world, we must combine enhanced efforts at domestic security with enhanced efforts to deny terrorists safe havens abroad. Unfortunately, a great many places—Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Syria, Libya, Yemen, Somalia—now fit this description.

It is a big task to clean up such deeply troubled places, and it won’t be done by invading country after country. The long war ahead will be fought by a variety of means, some of them military, many not. Our challenge resembles the Cold War, another multigenerational struggle waged with many different allies, not only on battlefields but also in the battle of ideas. We can only hope that someday the war on terror will end just as peacefully.

I've said this again and again, using force abroad is really a holding action to protect us while the Islamic world sorts out their civil war that will result in Islam either rejecting or embracing Islamism as the definition of what Islam is. We are collateral damage in that civil war.

That is why I had hope for the Arab Spring--and still have hope in the long run despite the massive failure in the short run--which showed that Arab Moslems were moving beyond the traditional choices of autocrats or mullahs for governing Moslem-majority states by raising the option of democracy.

We have a role in helping Moslems living under autocrats, mullahs, and elected rulers in fledgling democracies, understand that democracy means more than establishing a dictatorship of the majority.

We must help them understand that democracy means rule of law and the protection of minority rights and the assurance that exploitation, jail, death, or exile aren't the price you pay for losing an election. Just wait for the next one and work within the rules in the meantime to protect your interests.