Opinion: U.S. Deterrence and Islamic Terrorism
by Yoram Ettinger
According to the July 30, 2014 Rasmussen Reports, 59 percent of likely U.S. voters “Žbelieve that there is a global conflict between the Muslim world and “ŽWestern civilization, only 17 percent disagree and 24 percent are undecided. Likely “Žvoters also believe that the Arab Spring does not bode well for the U.S.”Ž
The U.S. posture of deterrence played a key role in bolstering Western “Žcivilization in face of intensifying threats, checking global violence and “Žinstability, bolstering the confidence of U.S. allies, and constraining the “Žmaneuverability of rogue regimes.”Ž
However, the current perception of the U.S. posture of deterrence “Žamong U.S. Arab allies is reflected by a July 27, 2014 op-ed in the leading “ŽSaudi daily, Asharq Al-Awsat, which is one of the most influential Arab “Žnewspapers, owned by the Saudi royal family: “Secretary John Kerry is “Žrepresenting a weak U.S. administration. … He visits Baghdad to represent an “Žadministration that lacks decision-making. He shuttles between Tel Aviv and “ŽCairo as a mediator with no real clout. … Barack Obama’s weak foreign policy “Žis weighing on the deteriorating situation across the world. … Washington’s “Žposition on Egypt has changed over the course of the past three years in a “Žmanner which demonstrates America’s confused vision and weak foreign “Žpolicy. … Obama did not even bother to issue a statement regarding the “ŽIslamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) forcing Mosul’s Christians to flee. “ŽObama’s increasingly isolationist policy is damaging Kerry’s credibility.””Ž
In order to improve the U.S. image in the Muslim world, Obama “Žissued a July 27, 2014 statement on the occasion of the Muslim holiday Eid al-Fitr: “In the United States, Eid reminds us of the many achievements “Žand contributions of Muslim Americans to building the very fabric of our “Žnation and strengthening the core of our democracy.” That statement was “Žconsistent with Obama’s June 2009 speech at Cairo University: “Ž”Ž”America and Islam are not mutually-exclusive and need not be in “Žcompetition. Instead, they overlap, and share common principles of justice, “Žprogress, tolerance and the dignity of all human beings. … Islam has “Ždemonstrated through words and deeds the possibilities of religious “Žtolerance and racial equality. … I also know that Islam has always been a “Žpart of America’s story. … Since our founding, American Muslims have “Ženriched the United States. … [The] partnership between America and Islam “Žmust be based on what Islam is.” “Ž
Obama’s view of Islam has been reinforced by CIA Director John “ŽBrennan, who was Obama’s adviser on counter-terrorism: “Our enemy is “Žnot ‘terrorism’ because terrorism is but a tactic. Our enemy is not ‘terror’ “Žbecause terror is a state of mind and as Americans we refuse to live in fear. “ŽNor do we describe our enemy as ‘jihadists’ or ‘Islamists’ because jihad is “Ža holy struggle, a legitimate tenant of Islam, meaning to purify “Žoneself or one’s community.” “Ž
While Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, the United Arab “ŽEmirates and Oman dread the clear and present lethal threat of Islamic, jihadist terrorism — initially and mostly bankrolled by Saudi Arabia — “ŽObama claims that there is no Islam-driven terrorism or “Žradicalism, but local cases of al-Qaida, Taliban and ISIS terrorism and Maj. “ŽNidal Hasan’s Fort Hood “workplace violence.” Therefore, he ordered the “Žrevision of the U.S. National Security Strategy and the training literature of “Žthe military, intelligence and homeland security agencies, deleting all “Žreferences to Islamic terrorism. Thus, the Los Angeles Times editorial stated “Žon June 8, 2010: “The [Obama] administration has assiduously avoided “Žterms that recognize the distinct threat posed by those who cite Islam as a “Žrationalization for terror.” “Ž
Obama’s ideological ambiguity undermines operational clarity in “Žthe battle against Islamic terrorism. It further erodes the U.S. posture of “Ždeterrence among increasingly vulnerable U.S. Arab allies, who are also “Žconcerned about Obama’s core belief in multilateral diplomatic engagement “Žof — rather than unilaterally confronting — rogue regimes, such as Iran. “Ž
The anxiety of Saudi Arabia and other pro-U.S. Gulf states — which are “Žafflicted by domestic and regional Sunni and Shiite Islamic terrorism — was “Žexpressed by a series of July 2014 columns in Asharq Al-Awsat. For “Žexamples, “it is clear that the policy of withdrawal and isolationism “Žpracticed by President Barack Obama’s administration has helped set “Žinstincts loose, encouraging [Middle Eastern] groups and people who show “Žno respect for peaceful coexistence. …What if Egypt was left to the rule of “Žthe Muslim Brotherhood, according to the wishes of the Obama administration? … The Obama administration is still dithering and “Žpreoccupied with the illusion of an agreement with Iran on its nuclear “Žprogram.””Ž
The Arab Tsunami-driven threat of Islamic terrorism is not limited to the pro-“ŽU.S. Arab regimes. It has afflicted India (the largest victim of Islamic “Žterrorism), China (XinjIang province), Russia (Chechnya), Pakistan, “ŽBangladesh, Afghanistan, Thailand, the Philippines and Africa. It constitutes “Ža clear and present threat to Europe and the U.S. mainland, emboldened by “ŽU.S. ideological and operational ambiguity and indecisiveness.”Ž
When it comes to “third down and ten yards to go” in the battle against “ŽIslamic terrorism, the U.S. quarterback can rely on the Israeli wide “Žreceiver, which provides a uniquely reliable and effective battle-tested “Žlaboratory and training ground for America’s defense and homeland security “Žforces and industries — the unconditional and democratic ally of the U.S.
This article was originally published by Israel Hayom.