Faced with this sort of thing …
… we have seen, in the broadest terms, had two sort of reactions:
King Abdullah II of Jordan wanted to, as I suggested elsewhere, “bomb ’em back into the stone age;” and he (Jordan) is as close to a real friend as Canada has anywhere in the Middle East, and his instincts are, probably, quite good. Meanwhile, here at home, our Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, wants to regress back to a sort of neo-isolationist policy that is one part appeasement and one part hope … but let us be clear: in both cases domestic political considerations were more important than global, strategic ones. It’s also clear that their respective stances worked in both cases: I have no doubt that, despite a torrent of criticism in the “quality press,” a solid majority of Canadians supported pulling our CF-18s out of the anti-Da’esh/ISIL/ISIS bombing campaign and that an equally solid majority would, in fact, support a decision to withdraw the training/advising contingent that is there now. I am equally certain that, again despite intense media criticism, Canadians are going to forgive Prime Minister Trudeau for “playing politics with the most horrific and unimaginable form of political violence: genocide.” Canadians are tired of the Middle East and all of its problems … most do not believe that there is a real terrorist threat to them. They voted for change, and they are, broadly, pretty happy with the change they’re getting.
One of my interlocutors reminded me, on social media, that there are options within that broad range, there’s something between rage and retreat. “Nobody can control Middle East,” he said, and “The most that can be done is reduce any Middle Eastern influence within the Western countries. It has to include reduction of immigration from that area, since the West imports their culture and connections.“
This is a topic we discussed, a couple of years ago, on Army.ca. Many people, including me, agree with my friend, above: some form of isolation is needed while the peoples of the Islamic Crescent – which stretches from the Atlantic coast of North Africa through the Middle East and West Asia all the way to Indonesia in South East Asia, sort out their own cultures in their own ways.
It has been suggested that we, in the secular, liberal, peaceful West should restrict the access of people from most of the Islamic Crescent to “our world.” How restricted? Well, certainly nothing as Trumpian as deporting Muslims or anything like that … even if any court in any civilized country would allow such a thing. But immigration would become nearly impossible for people from most of the countries in the Islamic Crescent, student visas, to study at our universities, would also dry up. Business trips would be very hard to arrange and so on. But we would still sell them armaments … it would be impossible to stop that, even if most Western countries decided to place an arms embargo on some Muslim states a few countries ~ notably France and Russia ~ would not go along. If France and Russia are going to sell arms we might as ell all join in. There is, of course, a very good chance ~ it’s almost a certainty ~ that the arms we sell will end up being used against “innocent civilians.” But that’s the very nature of the arms trade, I’m afraid.
Such a policy would be hard to develop, harder to coordinate and nearly impossible to implement with anything like consistency, but …
… it seems better than either of the extremes. Yesterday I presented a rather pessimistic look at radical Islamism by Andrew Peek, a soldier and scolar … pessimistic, but, I fear, accurate. Only the peoples in the Islamic Crescent can, finally, deal with radicalism and we cannot be of much help. That does not mean we should disengage and retreat into our own, relatively, safe corner of the world … we should be bombing Da’esh/ISIL/ISIS and Putin’s murderous, genocidal ally Bashar al-Assad’s Syrians, too. But we should not be trying to impose anything on the peoples there … they must have something akin to their own reformation and enlightenment in their own way and in their on time. My sense of the current socio-strategic situation in the Islamic Crescent, especially in the Middle East, is that if the Muslims there cannot contain radical Islamism then it will tear them apart and we will suffer bits of collateral damage,but they will destroy themselves.