Nov 15, 2015 (Antalya, Turkey) The attacks in Paris on Nov 13 have created a sense of shock across the West. While President of France Francois Hollande did not attend the G20 conference the President of the United States.
During the meeting he met with President Vladimir Putin of Russia, and cooperation seems to be emerging between the two leaders. There is a sense that the Islamic State is a danger. We saw more signs of this today, with the final statement from the White House. It is clear that Obama is now in coalition building mode.
During comments Obama said the following “As was true with the terrible attacks that took place in Ankara, the killing of innocent people based on a twisted ideology is an attack not just on France, not just on Turkey, but it’s an attack on the civilized world.”
There have been attacks on Turkey as well. We cannot forget that ISIS did detonate bombs in Lebanon as well.
There is an increasing realization that the only correct response is a unified response. Still, there are traps in this. They need to be explored.
Can you fight an ideology effectively? Yes. Its been done in the past. Whether you are talking of World War II, or other conflicts. But in order to be effective you need to understand what drives those you fight. We simply refuse to, or don’t.
Tzun Tze knew this dictum, and preached it when he wrote “know thy enemy, know thyself.”
When the United States was involved in World War II, Germany was not alien or seen as inferior. The Middle East is alien, and those living there are thought off as somehow inferior, even cowards. This is the wrong approach.
They are neither. The tactics being used, asymmetrical warfare, is meant to demoralize a civilian population and have that civilian population turn on muslims in their midst and conflate them with the terrorists. If we do this, the terrorists win. We must make this point. The people behind the attacks are a minority. They do not represent a religion. Those who develop policy though must stop peddling fear, and understand that we do need to know why people join ISIL, in order to stop people from joining them. We need to give them a reason not to.
Closing our borders to immigrants out of fear is not an answer either. Being humane is exactly contrary to what ISIL sells. Why the response from Europeans was a problem for ISIL and why they need to keep that divisions between peoples going. These attacks will only work the way they want if we fall into the trap, and start fearing and hating a religion. They will work even better if we actually commit western troops to the fight on the ground.
Obama did point this out, and also how it counters our values. “When I hear folks say that maybe we should just admit the Christians but no the Muslims, when I hear political leaders suggesting that there would be a religious test for which person who is feeling from a war-torn country is admitted, when some of those folks themselves come from families who benefitted from protection when they were fleeing political persecution, that’s shameful. That’s not American. That’s not who we are.”