Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Trump's Coming War On 'Radical Islam'

In the fall of 1990—around the time U.S. troops arrived in Saudi Arabia, enraging Osama bin Laden—the historian Bernard Lewis sounded an alarm in The Atlantic about brewing anti-Americanism in the Muslim world. “[W]e are facing a mood and a movement far transcending the level of issues and policies and the governments that pursue them,” he wrote. “This is no less than a clash of civilizations—the perhaps irrational but surely historic reaction of an ancient rival against our Judeo-Christian heritage, our secular present, and the worldwide expansion of both. It is crucially important that we on our side should not be provoked into an equally historic but also equally irrational reaction against that rival.”
America’s two post-9/11 presidents, George W. Bush and Barack Obama, attempted a balancing act: combatting jihadist terrorism while seeking to avoid the impression that the Western and Muslim worlds were engaged in the kind of clash Lewis described.
Donald Trump may soon steer the government in a different direction. Several of the president-elect’s national-security appointees have argued that the United States is at war with “radical Islamic terrorism,” or “radical Islam,” or something broader still, such as “Islamism.” They have described this war as a primarily ideological struggle to preserve Western civilization, like the wars against Nazism and communism. The war is not confined to extremist Sunni Muslims or extremist Shia Muslims; the Islamic State and the Islamic Republic of Iran are seen as two sides of the same coin. Notably, these appointees have put forth this sweeping vision before taking charge of the nation’s security—before a terrorist attack has occurred on their watch.
Bush certainly described his War on Terror in ways that evoked a civilizational clash, pitting freedom-lovers against the totalitarian successors of the Nazis and communists. But he emphasized that Islam was not one of the clashing sides—that the terrorists had perverted the “peaceful teachings of Islam.” “Some call this evil Islamic radicalism,” he said in 2005. “Others militant jihadism. Still others Islamo-fascism. Whatever it’s called, this ideology is very different from the religion of Islam.”
Barack Obama has downgraded Bush’s War to a fight, and the enemy from Terror to specific terrorist groups. He rejects the notion of a clash of civilizations, both because he thinks it overestimates the threat of terrorism to the United States and because he doesn’t want to affirm the jihadists’ narrative of a struggle between Islam and infidels in the West. When a U.S. president uses “loose language that appears to pose a civilizational conflict between the West and Islam, or the modern world and Islam, then we make it harder, not easier, for our friends and allies and ordinary people to resist and push back against the worst impulses inside the Muslim world,” Obama told The Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg.
Obama’s approach has produced a backlash that may shape policy in a Trump administration. For years now, Republicans have condemned Obama’s avoidance of the term “radical Islam,” arguing that it represents the president’s failure to properly assess and address the threat. Radical Islam, Obama’s critics contend, is what it sounds like: radicalism rooted in the religion of Islam. Where Obama sees “violent extremism,” his critics see militant religiosity. Where Obama sees a clash within Islamic civilization—between a tiny faction of fanatics and the vast majority of Muslims—his critics see a clash between Western civilization and a small yet significant segment of the Muslim world. Where Obama sees a weak enemy that is getting weaker, his critics see a strong enemy that is getting stronger. Where Obama sees limits to what the U.S. can do on its own to eradicate radical interpretations of Islam, his critics see an appalling lack of effort by the U.S. government. Where Obama sees a serious but manageable national-security threat, his critics see an ideological and civilizational challenge to the free world.
Trump has gone further than many other Republican leaders in advancing the counterargument to Obama—not just in his proposed policies, like banning or severely restricting Muslim immigration to the United States, but also in his rhetoric. “I think Islam hates us,” Trump said earlier this year. Asked if he was referring to “radical Islam,” he responded, “It’s radical, but it’s very hard to define. It’s very hard to separate. Because you don’t know who’s who.”
Several members of Trump’s emerging team have described the threat in similarly stark and broad ways. “We’re in a world war against a messianic mass movement of evil people, most of them inspired by a totalitarian ideology: Radical Islam. But we are not permitted to speak or write those two words, which is potentially fatal to our culture,” writes Michael Flynn, Trump’s pick for national-security adviser, in a book he published this summer with the conservative writer Michael Ledeen.
I don’t believe all cultures are morally equivalent, and I think the West, and especially America, is far more civilized, far more ethical and moral, than the system our main enemies want to impose on us,” Flynn adds.
Not all the world’s 1.6 billion Muslims are extremists or terrorists. Not by a long shot,” wrote Flynn’s incoming deputy, K.T. McFarland, in March. “But even if just 10 percent of 1 percent are radicalized, that’s a staggering 1.6 million people bent on destroying Western civilization and the values we hold dear. The fascists wanted to control the world. So did the communists. But the Islamists want to brutally kill a significant percentage of the world—and that is anyone standing in the way of their end-times caliphate.” Jeff Sessions, Trump’s choice for attorney general, has invoked America’s “containment” strategy during the Cold War, noting that there “can be no compromise with this form of radical Islam.”

 Read the rest here.

13 comments:

  1. The problem isn't solely the 1/10 of 1% who are radicalized to the point of violence (or whatever the percentage might be, but it seems reasonable). It's that nearly 100% of Muslims sympathize and even approve of such violence, and probably fewer, but certainly still substantial percentage (I wouldn't be surprised if it's well over 50%) would actively aid and abet them if given the opportunity. That why bringing or welcoming them over here (wherever here is) is insane.

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  2. The reason why libertarians have been set back for 10 years this election. They refuse to be consistent with immigration. Immigration is a government program. Open borders is not libertarianism. The thick libertarians and the Weld democrat potheads who co-opted the party have ruined the attraction of libertarianism as a philosophy for at least 10 years. Trump supporters associate libertarians with pro-terrorist, open border left government policies, and Weld shills for Clinton democrats. Good work idiots. Fine, excellent work you morons accomplished.

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    1. You are either deliberately obtuse, or quite incapable of reading comprehension and logic. The libertarian position on immigration is straight forward - in a private property society, its up to a property owner to decide who she allows on her property, who she leases her property to or who she sells her property to. Using government violence to close imaginary borders is NOT a libertarian position - and 100% violates the NAP

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  3. And of course not only is this mostly BS, but we could take similar polls of people supporting dropping nukes on Hiroshima and Nagasaki or whatever else we want to portray the western world as the same evil and violent civilization. Picking and choosing polls and massive amounts of interpretation and you can support whatever narrative you want on either side of the argument.

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    1. This was meant as a reply to Shimson.

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    2. Ah, another pedo. What a surprise.

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    3. "Are you Kidding me???" will go the same way as the bitcoin fanboys who commented on this site for a while, spouting how we dumb libertarians didn't understand that bitcoin was divine, and the State could never track it, and the dollar was going the way of the dodo any day now. These trump fanatics will slither back into the woodwork once trump's lunatic protectionist, statist programs fail just as profoundly as every other state-intervention always has

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  4. Dexter, as a Jew who lost many relatives in the Holocaust, I could pay that game better than you. Give it up. This isn't about poll taking. It's not about moral purity. This is reality. You are woefully ignorant of Islam. It is at war with the West, regardless of the West's shortcomings or own bloody history, and always has been. They are quite open about that if you bother to do the research.

    That doesn't mean we have to resort to violence with them over there. We don't and we shouldn't (I was against Iraq, Libya, Syria, etc., and say we should accept the inevitability of a nuclear Iran; am I a neocon or warmonger?). I just don't want them here in large enough numbers to matter. And more and more people are seeing things that way. We have enough problems to deal with without introducing new ones.

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    1. Oh grow up - I'm also Jewish and there's no possible way that 100% of muslims support violent jihadism ... your innate racism can't be explained away because of your religion

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  5. I didn't say support. I say sympathize or approve of. I also didn't say 100%. Islam is not a race. You're not tall enough for this ride.

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  6. You can quibble over the numbers all you want. The point is, MASSIVE numbers of Muslims do support (etc) exactly what I said. The evidence for such is overwhelming and in fact indisputable. To preempt you, do your own research.

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  7. Robert's solution to end jihad is to abolish the minimum wage and open the American border completely and have people that you otherwise be Islamic State militants flip burgers or shine shoes for 50 cents an hour. They are just interchangeable economic units, ya know.

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