Andrew Bacevich has a 3 point plan for an American strategy against violent radical Islam

Historians in the News
tags: ISIS, ISIL



Andrew Bacevich is author of the new book "America's War for the Greater Middle East: A Military History."

... Point one: Self-protect. Terrorism poses a modest, immediate threat to the United States. In the near-term, the appropriate response is to provide adequate resources and effective leadership to the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Central Intelligence Agency, the Coast Guard, the Transportation Security Administration, and agencies responsible for securing U.S. borders. In simplest terms, “keeping America safe” begins with keeping the bad guys from getting to us.

Point two: Restore stability. In the medium term, tamping down the turmoil roiling the core of the Middle East is a priority. Absent a willingness to occupy Iraq and Syria for a decade or more with a force of several hundred thousand troops, this is not a task the U.S. military can accomplish.

Instead, it's a job that the major regional powers must take on. For Iran, Turkey, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and, yes, Israel, the so-called caliphate represents a truly existential threat. The task confronting the U.S. is a diplomatic one: nudging these antagonists to recognize the interest that they hold in common and to act accordingly. Easily achieved? By no means. Yet nudging holds greater promise than committing U.S. troops to a fight that rightly belongs to those closer to the scene.

Point three: Promote agents of change. Not all the news coming from within the Islamic world is bad. Many young people there prefer modernity to martyrdom. Here lies the long-term solution to the problem we face. When Muslims find their path to reconciling faith with modern life, peaceful coexistence with the West becomes a possibility. That it may take decades or even generations for that path to materialize is no doubt the case. Over time, however, a sustained campaign of cultural and educational exchanges will help persuade young Muslims that we are not their enemy.

All of this will require patience on our part. But who really thinks that more bombs will yield a better outcome?




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