US Foreign Policy

Terrorism and US Foreign Policy: Wrong Priorities, again

Once again the United States terrorist and foreign policy have the wrong priorities.

This time it is how to protect the US homeland against ISIS. The rhetoric and military focus is on ISIS in Syria and Iraq whereas the real and immediate danger lies within the homeland. As John Mearsheimer, a specialist of international politics and author, said yesterday, ISIL cannot be destroyed in conventional warfare on its own turf because one cannot defeat an ideology. He goes on to say that even if the West were to defeat ISIL in a traditional war, ISIL would, like the Taliban has done in Afghanistan, merely defuse and regroup. And with the US commitment by both Democrats and Republicans to “remake” the Middle East, the West would be in for an open-ended forever war.

The West would be better advised to concentrate its resources on defence of its homelands where the threat has already manifested itself in Paris and California. Those terrorist acts were perpetrated and organised largely by local extremists, resident in Belgium, France and the US. They are supported and proudly advertised by ISIS as recruiting tools but executed by locals and immigrants.

Yesterday, Senator Graham, in Senate hearings with the FBI asked Director Comey, “What do you think the likelihood of another 9/11 against the homeland will be if we don’t destroy the caliphate in Syria and in Iraq in the next year?” Again, the mistaken belief is that by destroying ISIS in the Middle East any threat to the homeland will be removed. Comey’s answer, was, at best, vague, and not to the point. He admitted it was a hard question to answer.

As Mearsheimer posited, what we are fighting is an ideology, one that transcends national boundaries and therefore much more difficult to combat than traditional warfare on a fixed battlefield. Comey admits the FBI has no way to identify potentially threatening small cells that are beneath their radar. These terrorists exhibit no warning signs or profiles. They appear to be normal law abiding citizens and are not economically or socially marginalised but they are ideologically committed to an alien and dangerous creed.

Nevertheless, more effort should be expended on dealing with these threats in the homelands than attempting to defeat ISIS on the ground and bombing them in Syria and Iraq. Those efforts will be counterproductive and a waste of resources.

Part II of this post will deal with a proposed solution and the consequences.





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