Stephen Walt in the columns of Foreign Policy Magazine has written a piece titled The Unbearable Lightness of America’s War against The Islamic State.
Although I have reservations about some of the arguments put forward by Walt, I find his article particularly stimulating and worth reading.
Here is an especially interesting excerpt:
We now have a vast counterterrorism industry, much bigger intelligence budgets, and more energetic government surveillance, but the basic counterterrorist playbook has evolved little over the past 20 years. In particular, our national security establishment is still convinced that the main way to defeat extremist groups is U.S. military intervention, despite the nagging suspicion that it just creates more ungoverned spaces and makes it easier for groups like the Islamic State to recruit new members.
Then, Walt has listed a number of things the United States should do if it were truly serious about terrorism:
…it would start by gauging the level of threat properly and communicating that appraisal to the American people.
…we would also have a more honest and open discussion about our own role in generating it.
…we would now be having a frank discussion about the role of the media.
…we’d also see more creative efforts to discredit, marginalize, spoof, and embarrass the groups we oppose.
…you’d see a more hardnosed approach to the various American “allies” who are part of the problem rather than being part of the solution.
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