Thursday, July 13, 2006

Eliminating the root cause

I heard on the radio tonight that the US was doing everything they could to pressure Hizbollah to release the soldiers.

This is laughable. Even if the US could pressure "moderate" Arab nations like Jordan to help out, no Western nation is going to convince any Islamist government (Iran, Hizbollah, Hamas) to do anything, directly or indirectly.

And the US is not going to enter a third war without a serious provocation.

Yet the US, and the West, has one weapon that can solve many, many problems without spilling any blood. It won't be easy but it would be far better to do this sooner rather than later.

Cut off all economic ties with any state that supports Islamist terror. More importantly, cut off any ties with any state that trades with any state that supports Islamist terror.

The US needs to say to Europe, to the third world and to everyone else: You are either with us or against us. If this means another oil boycott, so be it - we can survive without them far better than they can survive without us.

Islamist ideology cannot and will not be changed. No charismatic Islamic leader is going to show up and prove to the terrorists that they are wrong according to the Koran. No one in the Islamic world is going to face down the Islamists. The hope that Islam can modernize is a false hope that comes from not being willing to face the problem head on.

And, I hate to say it, but one cannot soundly defeat a fragmented enemy militarily. You may be able to destroy the Taliban or Hamas or Hizbollah, but you cannot defeat Islamism in the field of war. When the war is asymmetric, where the people down the block from you can one day blow up a building with easily-obtained materials, one can never declare victory.

But the enemy is thoroughly and completely dependent on the West - for our technology, for our petrodollars, for every material need they have, including their weapons. Without money, without our money, they will change from a threat to world pace to a nuisance. They won't disappear but enough of them will happily back the winning horse and turn their backs on the terrorist leaders.

The US' major strength is not its military - it is its sheer economic might. It is past time we use it correctly.