I have long felt that the best strategy to defeat Islamic Extremist was to adopt a similar approach to the way we won the Cold War: Containment.
Thankfully two very qualified military strategists–Navy Commander Philip Kapusta, chief of strategic plans at Special Operations Command Central, and Marine Captain Donovan who just returned from his third combat deployment-have aticualted this position in today’s Boston Globe.
I hope such an approach will be adopted by either President Obama or President McCain-and I have enough faith in both men, that I think they will. Below the fold are some of the key highlights.
The United States has yet to formulate a holistic strategy to guide the prosecution of our new war. We have not articulated a clear set of mutually reinforcing goals, and we have not undertaken a consistent set of actions designed to achieve our aims even as they demonstrate our national values. Indeed, we have not even managed to properly identify our enemies; despite the rhetoric of the past seven years, America is not at war with terror, because terror is not a foe but a tactic.
Yet what we face today is not wholly novel: It is a war of ideas, mirroring the Cold War. Like the Communists, violent Islamic extremists are trying to spread a worldview that denigrates personal liberty and demands submission to a narrow ideology. And, as with the Cold War, it must be our goal to stop them. The United States should therefore adopt a new version of the policy that served us so well during that last long war: containment.
A policy of “neocontainment” would avoid self-defeating military confrontations in favor of an aggressive campaign to isolate our enemies. The modern … arc of instability that extends from Central Asia west through Iran and the Arabian Peninsula and south across North Africa. We should build a virtual wall of stable, moderate nations on the periphery of that arc, literally containing the spread of the hostile belief system. ..we must enter into – and prevail in – the war of ideas, winning the hearts and minds of both domestic and foreign audiences. We must pursue … by consistently demonstrating our belief system in action. Our deeds are more important than anything we say, and in the aggressive prosecution of our war on terror, we have strayed from our core value of individual freedom.
Today’s threat emanates…from a loosely networked group of radicals based primarily in undergoverned areas of the world…Just as we strove to separate the Soviet elites from the people they repressively ruled, now we must separate the Islamic radicals from the vast majority of Muslims. We cannot, and should not, target an entire religion.
There is a lot more meat in the article, I hope you can find the time to read it and provide some feedback….