02 December 2008

'It's The Ideology (And The Demographics), Stupid'

(with apologies to James Carville)

Mark Steyn's take on the Mumbai attacks and how they fit in to the broader picture is a must read. Sure, he pounds the demographics drum, again, but it's an important part of the advance of jihadism as an ideology:
[...] we’re in danger of missing the forest for the trees. The forest is the ideology. It’s the ideology that determines whether you can find enough young hotshot guys in the neighborhood willing to strap on a suicide belt or (rather more promising as a long-term career) at least grab an AK and shoot up a hotel lobby. Or, if active terrorists are a bit thin on the ground, whether you can count at least on some degree of broader support on the ground. You’re sitting in some distant foreign capital but you’re minded to pull off a Bombay-style operation in, say, Amsterdam or Manchester or Toronto. Where would you start? Easy. You know the radical mosques, and the other ideological-front organizations. You’ve already made landfall.

It’s missing the point to get into debates about whether this is the “Deccan Mujahideen” or the ISI or al-Qaeda or Lashkar-e-Taiba. That’s a reductive argument. It could be all or none of them. The ideology has been so successfully seeded around the world that nobody needs a memo from corporate HQ to act: There are so many of these subgroups and individuals that they intersect across the planet in a million different ways. It’s not the Cold War, with a small network of deep sleepers being directly controlled by Moscow. There are no membership cards, only an ideology. That’s what has radicalized hitherto moderate Muslim communities from Indonesia to the Central Asian stans to Yorkshire, and co-opted what started out as more or less conventional nationalist struggles in the Caucasus and the Balkans into mere tentacles of the global jihad.


This isn’t law enforcement but an ideological assault — and we’re fighting the symptoms not the cause. Islamic imperialists want an Islamic society, not just in Palestine and Kashmir but in the Netherlands and Britain, too. Their chances of getting it will be determined by the ideology’s advance among the general Muslim population, and the general Muslim population’s demographic advance among everybody else.

So Bush is history, and we have a new president who promises to heal the planet, and yet the jihadists don’t seem to have got the Obama message that there are no enemies, just friends we haven’t yet held talks without preconditions with. This isn’t about repudiating the Bush years, or withdrawing from Iraq, or even liquidating Israel. It’s bigger than that. And if you don’t have a strategy for beating back the ideology, you’ll lose.
(emphasis added)

This is the ideological challenge: Making "moderate" Islam (broadly speaking, the ones who don't use violent means to achieve a worldwide caliphate) more appealing than radical (is there any other kind) jihadism (aka, Islamofascism or whatever other word you like to use).

Look, whatever you may have originally thunk about Iraq, it is quickly shaping into exactly the type of pluralist, muslim, moderate state President Bush always hoped it would be. Sure, Obama will take credit when that happens, but still, Iraq will be there as an example to the rest of the Middle East (and world, for that matter).

Democracy allows for Sunnis and Shiites and Kurds and Christians to all get along.

If you have tips, questions, comments or suggestions, email me at lybberty@gmail.com.