Tuesday, September 1, 2015

There’s More to the War on Terror Than Guns and Bombs

DANIEL RUNDE, foreignpolicy.com

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Gov. Scott Walker (R-Wis.) gave a speech on Friday about foreign policy — specifically the threats faced by radical Islamic terrorism as embodied by, among others, the Islamic State and the Iranian regime. On the campaign trail voters have been asking Walker the same questions they’ve asked other candidates about their foreign policy plans: Do you have a strategy to confront and defeat radical extremism, and will you take the steps necessary to keep us safe?
(Note: In a voluntary capacity, I am serving as a foreign policy advisor to the Walker campaign and I am serving on his finance committee.)
Nearly 15 years after 9/11, the United States still lacks an overarching strategy for this existential threat. Voices from the military, the world of politics, and academia have risen to suggest ways to tackle this threat, but the United States still lack a clear road map that uses all forms of American power to meet this 50 year challenge. ...
In the long term, the United States is going to need a much more ambitious approach to supporting economic, political, and religious freedom in parts of the world that export terrorism. This includes encouraging a velvet revolution in Iran. America should directly or indirectly support reformers in the Islamic World. It should more proactively support Gen. Fattah el-Sisi in Egypt. It must ensure that Tunisia’s Arab democracy succeeds. ...
Terrorism does not happen because of hopelessness, but it feeds on hopelessness and we need these societies to grow and to gainfully employ their people. The United States and a wide range of partners need to make it harder for terrorists to operate and harder to recruit. We need to support changes in these societies to encourage democratic and economic reforms. We will also support changes in these societies that respect the human rights of women and religious minorities.
America took on communism and defeated it. In the Cold War, many of its most effective tools and approaches were not military in nature and included foreign assistance, public diplomacy, and other tools. Similarly, the United States will confront and defeat this evil by using a wide range of tools — in many cases not military tools.

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