I am a problem solver by nature. In my mind each problem has a solution, it just requires a set structure of fact-finding, testing of all possible scenarios and then statistically analyzing the best and most appropriate set of actions to solve the problem. No problem.
Unless of course you are talking about how to deal with the issue of terrorism, a relatively new form of warfare that ignores all normal rules of engagement and levels of diplomacy.
The way I see it, the root of the problem with our current “Islamofacist terrorists” is that the only way to resolve their selfish need for bloodshed is one of three things: converting to Islam, complete and utter destruction of Western society, or the complete and utter destruction of Islamic Supremist Ideology.
It would appear evident that the first two options aren’t really options at all, since clearly Christians, Jews, Buddhists, Hindus, Atheista, Agnostics, Scientologists (is that even a religion?) Wiccans, Satan Worshippers (well they might go for it) and any other religious group I may have left off AREN’T going to convert to Islam by force. And clearly we can’t think that complete and utter destruction of Western society as we know it is an option, because well, that would be suicide and last I checked, that’s AGAINST my religion. That leaves us one option: “destroying” the mindset of our enemies.
How do we achieve this?
Some think that diplomacy is the best option, so let us explore this. We have tried reasonable measures of diplomacy with the Palestinians, as has Israel, and while this has created times of tenable peace, the end result is the same: certain Muslim Arabs resent the presence of what they see as inferior, interfering Westerners into their archaic system of oppression.
Essentially the rigid adherence to a false sense of superiority and deep-seated hatred for never being “the powerhouse” of the world eventually creeps in and pollutes their collective brains. No doubt there are Muslims who are moderate, reasonable and wanting of peace. But sadly, the threads of resentment spread like a metastasizing cancer slowly infecting all corners of their community. Like the Irish and the IRA, or the Italians and the Mafia, or WASPS and the KKK, not everyone in the community is a card-carrying member, committed to acts of violence and intolerance, but it’s likely a formidable amount secretly root on their “activist neighbors” out of resentment and religious/ethnic exceptionalism.
We saw this with the cheering of the Arab Muslims around the world before the bodies were cold in New York. What a savage and reckless display for the loss of human life. Surely not everyone cheering was involved in the attack, but they were happy with the result nonetheless.
Humans are clannish and intrinsically competitive. Nationalistic pride is something that is taught at an early age in the context of history classes and indoctrination by our own social practices. We are expected to show pride in the successes our country had at overcoming the intrusions of other races and groups of people. How can we not feel proud of our accomplishments, aren’t we superior? Isn’t it possible that Muslim Arabs feel superior with the same intensity and therefore hate our flaunting and gloating around the globe.
Don’t get me wrong. I am not implying that we shouldn’t feel proud as Americans, or Brits, *gulp* French, or whomever we are – we should. We are all special, and in the case of Americans we are unique in our specialness because we promote a form of government that encourages equality (though not perfected obviously) and we have achieved economic success and global dominance. But we are also a compassionate country with an inherent inclination to do the right thing: rich, successful and nice, geez, no wonder they hate us.
To boil it down, I don’t think diplomacy is the answer. We will always be in the position of having more to offer and they will always be in the position of having to take what we give them. Who likes being a charitable cause? What’s that they say about biting the hand that feeds you? It really is an issue of a massive inferiority complex fueled by a false sense of superiority.
So diplomacy is out, it just won’t work and you can’t force people to like you when your efforts to do so are perceived as an insult of the deepest nature.
That leaves the complete and utter destruction of their mindset through force and breaking down their false sense of superiority so that we may build them up again and teach them to create a world where they can be proud of themselves, while simultaneously respecting the right of other groups to be proud of themselves as well. That’s what it comes down – tolerance. Until they stop thinking of themselves as being better, they cannot possibly live in peace with the world. We must break this pattern of thinking at the molecular level.
This is not an easy solution. How do we break down an entire culture of people with the hopes of having a positive outcome?
Well, war is one way. Take Germany and Japan as excellent examples. Did they not both embrace a mindset of superiority and intolerance? Did they not take up arms against those who threatened their rise to superiority? Did we as a global community not smite them down and then invest in the long haul to build them up so that they too could achieve equilibrium with the world.
The war on terrorism isn’t a war against individual terrorists, but a war against a culture of people who think they somehow deserve more than everyone else. It’s possible that they deserve more than they have, but so do most nations in Africa and South America and Eastern Europe and parts of Asia. There may come a time that they too will rise up and we as a global community must engage them with force. Clearly Bush’s top advisors (especially Colin Powell) realized that poverty (and low self-esteem) are among the seeds of terrorism that are being sown. Spreading wealth is in everyone’s best interest. But that’s a long-term strategy and a preemptive strike.
In the meantime, we are at a dangerous crossroads where it is a matter of our lives versus their mass psychosis and ignorance. Assuming the terrorists don’t nuke us and we therefore retaliate with such overwhelming force as to destroy half the earth, in time there will be equilibrium among nations. This is the dream of our species, but we don’t have the luxury of time with the Islamofacists. Time has run out and as long as there are people who want to see the world ruined for everyone rather than share it equally with anyone, we must act swiftly and decisively.
Make no doubt, this is a deadly breed of bullies and whether these bullies were made or born, they must be dealt with the same way: brute force.