Thursday, April 14, 2016

Speak Humorously But Carry a Big Stick

Bono (of U2 fame) testified about reducing the source of migration at its source to avoid a threat to Europe; and suggested fighting jihadis with comedy. He has a point. Really.

Said Bono:

"When aid is structured properly, with a focus on fighting poverty and improving governance [in Middle East, Asia and Africa], it could just be the best bulwark we have against the extremism of our age," Bono said. ...

Bono also suggested using comedy to fight extremist groups. "It's like, you speak violence, you speak their language. But you laugh at them when they are goose-stepping down the street and it takes away their power," he said. "So I am suggesting that the Senate send in Amy Schumer and Chris Rock and Sacha Baron Cohen, thank you."

The extremism seemed to include both jihadis and extremism in Europe arising from the migrant crisis.

And while I'm not upset about upsetting EU unity (how unified is Europe if the first crisis shakes it?), the man has a point.

The Arab Spring was a hope that improving governance would fight poverty. I still have hope that this was a first step in a long process that will lead to democracy (with rule of law as the assumed partner to voting) at the expense of Islamism and autocracy, which will combat poverty.

Which will reduce the motive to flee to Europe and stir that pot.

As for the comedy? He has a point there, too.

Oh, not literally. Do not parachute Sacha Baron Cohen into ISIL-held territory. He'd be killed. Just like any of us.

But if we poke fun at the jihadis even as we kill them; mock them even as we destroy their proto-caliphates; laugh at them even as we arrest them, then maybe we shift their image from Koran heroes to pathetic jokes.

Which could help undermine the appeal of the jihad to a lot of unemployed young men.

Really, mocking them is better than the constant hand-wringing Western question of "why do they hate us?" that always seems to settle on blaming America for one stupid thing or another as the cause for their hate.

So Bono has a point about the long term fight to undermine the appeal of jihad.

Of course, in the short run we still have to kill the jihadis. Screw 'em if they can't take a joke, eh?

UPDATE: Of course, the same mindset that wants the West to avoid killing jihadis can interfere with mocking jihadis:

The German government has approved a criminal inquiry into a comic who mocked the Turkish president, Chancellor Angela Merkel announced.

By law, the government must approve any use of an article of the criminal code on insulting foreign leaders.

Mrs Merkel stressed that the courts would have the final word.

Well, President Erdogan is one of those good Islamists we can work with, right? Which explains why he is eager to have the German comic prosecuted.

Much better than a fatwah urging his beheading. Now that's moderation.

Well. We shouldn't kill jihadis, it seems. And we can't mock them. What's left? Submitting to them?

As the jihadis might say, now we're getting somewhere, eh?

UPDATE: Germany's actions are atrocious:

Think of the impact in Turkey. Imagine how you would feel if you were a Turkish journalist, worried about what you could say, and you saw Angela Merkel – the leader of the most populous and richest country in the EU, this club of soi-disant liberal western nations – cravenly siding with the whim of an autocrat.

You would feel alone, frightened that even Germany was unwilling to stick up for you; and you would be right.

Merkel believes she is selling out a comic to get Turkey's agreement to shut off the migrant flow to Europe, which Merkel foolishly encouraged before she got what she wished.

Perhaps a weekly shipment of a human sacrifice will keep Erdogan cooperative.