By Paul Goble
There is a military solution to ISIS and it will undoubtedly be successfully applied in the coming weeks, but there is not a military solution to terrorism Islamist and otherwise, according to Nikolay Khramov. Those who think otherwise are deluding themselves consciously or unconsciously.
In “Yezhednevny zhurnal” today, the Russian commentator says that the world will not prevent future outbursts of Islamist violence by expelling all immigrants, building a new Great Wall, or responding with force every time there is a new act of violence, although responding that way is necessary (ej.ru/?a=note&id=28947).
And that means, among other things, Khramov says, that “a different solution is inevitable” at some point, one that will not rely on force alone but rather focus on and seek to address the far broader underlying problems that if unresolved will simply lead to the emergence of new terrorist groups and new terrorist attacks.
After the Paris attacks as after those of September 11, politicians felt compelled “yet again to begin to speak in a chorus about how the latest Islamist terrorists have declared war on the free world.” To which Khromov responds, “Thank you, Captain Obviousness,” although those who say it do not understand fully what they are saying.
“Does the problem of ISIS have a military solution? Of course. More than that, it has only a military one.” If the Western powers intervene massively, they will need “no more than two or three weeks to destroy ISIS and cleanse the territory of Syria.”
“However, does the problem of Islamist terrorism have a military solution?” In that case, Khromov continues, the answer is “no.” And he proceeds to explain why that is so, focusing on why Islamist terrorism has emerged and how difficult, expensive, and long-term the real solution to it is likely to be.
Khromov points out that “ISIS, like Al-Qaeda and those connected with it, have declared war on the West. A world war. They are conducting it not because the West supposedly has interfered in their affairs in Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan or somewhere else. They are carrying it out for the destruction of the Free World and they openly declare that this is their goal.”
Moreover, they are conducting it “because permanent war with an external enemy is the means of their survival, the only way for them to maintain their control over poor, uneducated, fanatic and stupefied populations in the territories under their power.”
“This really is a world war, and it is a war to destruction,” a reality Western public opinion is only beginning to accept. But there is something else it must recognize: “as in the past world war,” there won’t be a victory by pushing someone out of France of even taking Berlin. Much more was and will be required.
The victorious Western powers had to do far more in Germany and Japan after the guns went silent to ensure that the dangers that had come from them would not come again: “years of occupation … denazification, the Marshal Plan, and other measures directed toward one single goal,” the inclusion of these countries in the Free World.
The current wave of Islamist violence has its roots in the collapse of the European colonial systems in the 1950s and 1960s, Khromov argues. In their wake, there was economic collapse and mass murder: three million dead in Cambodia, three million more in Nigeria, 1.5 million in the Iran-Iraq war, and a million in the Ruanda genocide.
In almost all former colonies, there was “a complete absence of freedom and democracy, the collapse of the economy, the enrichment of the rulers, and the impoverishment of the population,” he continues, and that led to an opposition that promised all good things if only people would rise against not only their own rulers but against those behind them.
That is how the Muslim Brotherhood, the Taliban, Al-Qaeda and ISIS arose, Khromov says, “it is precisely the genesis of all past, present, and future Islamist fundamentalists.” And now, because the horrors related to it are not occurring far from Western countries but in their major cities, the West is having to pay attention.
And it is having to “forget terms like ‘national sovereignty,’ ‘non-interference,’ and ‘internal affairs,’” terms that dictators have used to justify their exploitation of their populations and thus bred extremism.
“For the sake of its own security, Europe will have to seriously and for a long tiem return to those countries from which it so giddily and traitorously left. For the sake of its own security, America will have not only to come to terms with its undesired role as ‘the universal policeman,’ but also take on itself new roles: universal teacher and builder and repeat the program of post-war restoration of Europe and Japan in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria and later everywhere.”
Khromov argues that “the Free World will have to give up the illusion that it can limit its efforts to providing arms to its allies or even by using no-fly zones over territories of ‘failed states’ overrun by civil war. What will be required is full-blown military interference and occupation.”
And this will be “not for years but for decades,” he argues; it will be expensive but not doing this will be even more so. Only when the countries that have given rise to terrorist groups because of their history have been transformed by this program can they get back the sovereignty that they will have partially lost in the course of such a program.
Moreover, the West needs to recognize that in the course of this effort, some of these countries will disintegrate and new ones will emerge. Tehre may be in place of today’s Iraq “two or three states” and not only there. And that is just one of the costs of “the third world war which has begun against the Free World.”
“The globalization of democracy, capitalism and consumer society, the formation in place of these wounded states of fully democratic ones, and their inclusion in the Free World is the only outcome which can be considered a victory in this war,” the Moscow commentator insists.
“Such a victory, in contrast to the predicted easy military victory over ISIS in Syria will require colossal efforts, means, and patience. But only it will guarantee forever peace, freedom and security to all residents of the planet,” Khromov says.
And he concludes: “The more rapid public opinion and the political class of the West recognizes this and takes responsibility, the greater number of lives that will be saved. What new Pearl Harbor will be needed for them to recognize that reality?”