Back in August I highlighted an op-ed that explored a strategy meant for the Cold War that could be applied usefully to our current War on Terrorism. The op-ed author was Nick Thompson from Wired's Danger Room and the Cold war strategy (featured in the popular X-Article) is now known tho be the work of George 'X' Kennan. I should reiterate here once again that this this op-ed, the article I'm going to mention briefly, this post or the post from August is advocating a "wait them out" strategy but rather a strategy that uses inherent weaknesses of extremist ideology against them rather than using policies that strengthen their ranks and confirm their propaganda.
This brings us to the 'return' of this policy prescription; this time in next months Foreign Affairs journal (via the WSJ). The author, the centrist Brookings Institutions senior US foreign policy wonk, Philip H. Gordon argues (much like Thompson and Kennan; summarized by WSJ's Robin Moroney)
...Islamic extremists will lose the way the U.S.S.R. did, with their ideology and tactics discredited and their erstwhile supporters deserting them. Mr. Gordon says this will occur as a result of disgust at Islamic militants’ use of violence against other Muslims, the economic failures of extreme Islamic regimes and a fear in the Islamic world, evidenced in polls, of having al Qaeda-led governments.
Focusing on completely eradicating terrorism rather than fostering its slow demise would drag the U.S. into precisely the costly wars abroad that Osama bin Laden wants the U.S. to fight. Mr. bin Laden and his ilk are unlikely to win in the long term in any case, says Mr. Gordon, but the war in Iraq will prolong the conflict as an effective recruiting tool for al Qaeda. The U.S. should instead focus on exploiting extremist Islam’s weak points as an ideology, using diplomacy, economic development and imprisoning terrorist leaders to bring about Islamic terrorism’s slow death.
Sound, rational, logical strategy the presidential contenders should consider and a market improvement to the neocon destabilization and paranoia campaign. Of course if your platform is running on the coattails of 9/11 then you might surround yourself with discredited pseudo-scholars. Right Mr. Giuliani?
Posted by Geoff
Labels: al Qaeda, counter terrorism, foreign affairs, foreign policy, FP, Osama bin Laden, terrorism, UBL