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The Missing Ideologic War against Jihadism

  

The Bush and Olmert failures in Iraq and Lebanon respectively have damaged both nations. The US may undergo a new Vietnam syndrome, unsure of itself, unwilling to use its power to pursue its national interest, regularly referring security matters it should decide itself to ineffective international bodies such as the corrupt UN. It, of course, will remain the one hyper power in the world, still oceans away from the unrest and its 13 trillion dollar economy largely intact. For Israel, the risks are far greater.

The tiny Jewish state with its population of some five million Jews, only eight miles across at its narrow waistline, surrounded by an ever deepening array of hostile forces and nations, may be seen as too low hanging a fruit to pass for a resentful Arab World full of self pity and resentment, and hungry for some sort of victory however hollow and bloodthirsty it may be.

There is only one solution for Israel and for the US as well, who does not live under the same existential threat as Israel, but can nonetheless be brought to its knees by a determined foe as witnessed on 9/11 - and that is decisive military and ideologic strength.

For Israel, it must begin by replacing the hapless Olmert with someone who is ready to confront the unhappy reality that Israel has no friends in the Middle East; there are no partners for peace; and that it will remain at war with its neighbors for the foreseeable future.

Israeli leaders must recognize that their nation, a liberal democratic Jewish state amidst Islamic despotisms beset by extremism, will, perhaps, always be at odds with its environment and must resist pressures to make concessions that will only threaten its security and invite attack. Israel must use its advanced technological capacity to stay ahead of its neighbors and devote whatever resources are needed to maintain its military edge.

For the US, the current leadership and those who follow must commit to a Reagan-like military build up and avoid fighting a hawk's war with a Clinton military budget - as has been attempted by Bush: a tragic flaw for which he will be judged harshly and which accounts for current difficulties in Iraq.

The principle however remains the same: a robust, lethal, and well funded war machine that is beyond challenge will discourage nations and groups from engaging in provocative, destabilizing actions (such as are now seen with Iran, North Korea, Hezbollah, and Al-Qaeda). It is the threat from just such an overwhelming military capability that prevents war not causes it, keeping the peace and allowing for successful diplomatic initiatives - without a shot being fired.

The other side of the coin is the ideologic front. The US and Israel, and the West in general, have been remarkably tentative on this account, a foolish omission considering the obvious advantages the West enjoys. It is as if the West, filled with self-doubt, besieged as it is by the debilitating effects of political correctness and multiculturalism, is unwilling to mount a serious public relations campaign for fear of offending one group or another, and yet this is precisely the sort of offense that is needed to distinguish the cruel and violent vision of the Jihadist from our own.

The West (lead by the US and Israel) should emphasize unabashedly the self evident superiority of liberal democracy not just economically, but morally, over the medieval and primitive Jihadist revelation.

The West should eagerly match its principles of tolerance, moderation, and reason against the intolerance, tribalism, and oppression of Islamic extremism.

The West must affirm the pre-eminence of its system in all aspects of civil life against the uncompromising tyranny of Jihadism, much as it did against the now defunct Soviet Empire.

Funding should be made available to pursue such an aggressive public relations campaign, no different than the very effective Voice of America and similar such projects during the Cold War. Alternative news channels and cultural programs presenting the American (or Israeli) perspective on radio, television, and internet should compete on the airwaves in Moslem countries with Al Jazeera and state run media.

Favorable print media including books and newspapers published in Arabic are essential to such a campaign. A spirited defense of our civilization and exposure of the spiritual and economic bankruptcy of the other will undermine the Jihadists and inspire reformers in the Moslem and Arab world.

It is imperative that we put in place alternative social networks through out the Moslem world at local levels as well, and particularly in Iraq and Afghanistan now, in Mosques, Moslem associations, student groups, and unions that will deliver the message of freedom and hope that the West embraces as an antidote to the toxic exhortations of the Jihadists.

We should actively seek out assimilated and patriotic Moslem Americans (and moderate, open minded Moslems everywhere) and employ them in the service of their country(s) to speak out, in the press and airwaves, against the twisted rhetoric of the radical Islamists and their perverse vision of Islam.

On the home front (here and in Israel), we must confront intellectually the appeasers, Jihadist sympathizers, and multiculturalists in the legal and political realms, the media, and the Universities, who hamstring our efforts to contest the Islamists.

The West must recognize that head-chopping Islam is only the latest in a string of totalitarianisms that have plagued mankind that, if allowed to succeed, would be every bit the giant vortex of human suffering and death that its totalitarian predecessors, Nazism and Communism, were before them. We must defeat it militarily and ideologically by undermining its legitimacy and exposing the movement for the bloodthirsty, fanatical dispensation that it is.

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