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Time for USA to give up the Diplomacy Delusion
Wed Aug 30, 2017 9:01am

Recently, two announcements regarding Afghanistan and the Arab-Israeli conflict suggested that the Trump administration is following the old failed strategies for dealing with the challenge of modern jihadism. If so, he is setting us up for the same old failures caused by the same old failure of imagination.

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At some point we need to start believing the Palestinian Arabs mean what they say: they will never accept the existence of Israel, and will never stop attacking Israelis. We must stop crediting their pretexts of “national self-determination” and “checkpoints,” and acknowledge their real motive: to win back by any means necessary––terrorist violence or tactical negotiations or duplicitous “agreements” ­––a land once conquered by the faithful and destined by Allah’s will to be restored to the umma. “Conciliation and peace” are irrelevant. Obedience to Allah is everything, and Western notions of peace and freedom and tolerance are infidel snares for the faithful. True peace will come when “the whole world says there is no god but Allah and Mohammed is his messenger,” and the perfect social-political order, sharia, governs the whole world.

In Afghanistan, the same motives are at work. It is easy to say, as Trump did, “Terrorists who slaughter innocent people will find no glory in this life or the next. They are nothing but thugs and criminals and predators, and, that’s right, losers.” We are comforted by such simplistic rhetoric, but it blocks us from using our imaginations to find out what drives a people to kill others and themselves. In their minds, the Taliban are pious Muslim traditionalists, like the other Salafists such as the Muslim Brotherhood. They see Islam’s decline as a consequence of the seduction of the faithful by Western “innovations” ––democracy, human rights, sex equality, secular government––which all cause the faithful to stray from the pure doctrine of sharia and the model of the rightly guided caliphs, the geopolitical “winners” who brought down two empires and occupied a third of Christian Europe. Like the Palestinian Arabs, the Taliban will wage jihad without expecting in their lifetimes to win. Setbacks, apparent failure, the vicissitudes of the conflict don’t matter as much as continuing the struggle that Allah has commanded the faithful to undertake.

With such an enemy, battles ending in “reconciliation and peace” aren’t in the cards, only temporary treaties that buy time. Magnanimity and bribes are seen only as signs of weakness and disbelief, the cargo of the West’s decadence and hedonism that wants only to live one more day and enjoy pleasure and comfort. They see our eagerness to accept their pretexts as fear and cowardice, and our “development” money and foreign aid as a form of jizya, the divinely sanctioned tribute the infidel owes the faithful.


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    Religion and Ethics BBS