The Crux of the Matter

Most governments in the international community regard the ongoing cold war with Jihadism and Islamism as purely a matter of national security. This is the result of narrow articulation of national interest whereby the ongoing global struggle with Jihadism and Islamism is reduced to a matter of “fighting terrorists”. 

National security is also the prism through which most governments view Iran. Each nation (with the exception of Israel) seeks to appease Iran so as to protect itself from the long reach of Iranian mass terrorism, potentially with chemical, biological and radiological weapons of mass destruction. Islamists and Jihadists view this Second Cold War as a global ideological struggle while most of their governmental adversaries cling to the view that this is exclusively a matter of national security. 

President George W. Bush set the tone and formulated this paradigm directly after the 9/11 attacks and apparently without much strategic thinking behind the decision. This is the very paradigm which led to the draconian Anti-Muslim crackdown in the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region in northwest China while not preventing China from signing an economic alliance with Jihadist-Islamist Iran in 2021. This is the paradigm according to which the Muslim Brotherhood is illegal in Russia as officially deemed a terrorist organization while at the same time Hamas (the Palestinian branch of the Muslim Brotherhood) has a representative office in Moscow. It is all about the national interest narrowly defined as national security, specifically as counter-terrorism. Even Israel which has banned the northern wing of the Israeli branch of the Muslim Brotherhood has presently a coalition government where the southern wing of the Israeli branch of the Muslim Brotherhood is one of eight parties represented. Clearly even Israel subscribes to the Bush paradigm.

The problem therefore is one of paradigm. No government seems to view the global conflict as one of a continued struggle against totalitarianism, indeed a continuation of the struggle against other forms of totalitarianism such Nazism and Communism. Not even Israel whose very existence is directly threatened by the totalitarian imperialism of Khomeinist Iran. 

It is understandable that governments around the world view Jihadist terrorism as a severe threat, however the myopia caused by the fear of terrorism has led to severe neglect of virtually all other aspects of this momentous struggle.

Conducting oneself according to an antiquated or otherwise insufficient paradigm is a well-known problem both inside and outside academia which may have severe implications for society. The problem here is discursive and paradigmatic and in particular a narrow articulation of the national interest as national security, specifically counter-terrorism.

While the Bush paradigm may have made sense immediately after the 9/11 attacks, it is long since outdated and irrelevant. The Bush paradigm while seemingly successful in partially degrading al Qaida has not been successful in the wider struggle against Jihadism and Islamism in Islamdom and the wider Muslim world. The festering global Jihadist problem is worse than ever and the popularity of Islamism among Muslims has not lessened. 

The Bush paradigm prescribes projection of hard power without any projection of soft power. This is a very strange military strategy, a myopic one indeed. The Bush paradigm furthermore almost completely ignores the geostrategic aspects of the global struggle with Jihadism and Islamism, something which is also strange and myopic to put things mildly. 

The crux of the matter is the universal practice of every nation looking out for itself in counter-terrorism while ignoring all other aspects of the ongoing cold war with Jihadism and Islamism. The problem is that of an antiquated paradigm which alas was always insufficient to begin with.

Published by Daniella Bartfeld

Daniella Bartfeld is the founding director of the Aliyah Organization

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