Normally I find good in-depth articles at the Atlantic monthly online, but this article was simplistic in nature, biased, and close minded.
The strategy they [neo-cons] championed was the wrongest possible strategy for the wrongest possible moment in the wrongest possible region of the world.
History showed what worked against threatening states—containment and deterrence. Behind them, confident of the melting power of its way of life, the West waited out Soviet Communism
I think what actually worked against Communism was containment (preventing other states from turning to communism) , deterrence (on a military level: i.e. arms buildup), and engagement (on an economic level we out produced them).
They ditched the strategy that worked against a nuclear-armed superpower to launch a pre-emptive war against a toothless Iraq, which has been contained and deterred—and disarmed—since the Gulf War.
Which this author mixes the Iraq issue and the Israel issue, and comes to the conclusion that instead of attacking Iraq we should have pushed for peace in Jerusalem.
If there is a path to democracy in the Middle East, it begins in Jerusalem, not Baghdad
Which i don't know a lot about the general feelings of most of the islamic people,but i know they hate us because we support Israel and/or they hate us because we support globalization and are infidels. So just removing the Israel will not solve the problem. The authors solution is flawed for that point and that point only.
They identified the wrong enemy (a state), attacked it for the wrong reasons (WMD), and in a way that strengthened our real enemy, the transnational terrorists of September 11
The author's suggestion is a mix between the same strategy that we took with the soviet union and solving the Israel problem. I have already shown how solving the Israel problem will not remove, the problem entirely. The second problem with solving the Israel problem, is the unpredictable time frame involved, they have been at war since Israel declared independence, long before most of the people in Palestine were born. They have been working towards peace since i was in high school, and they still have not achieved it. There are no guarantees that peace can be achieved, and the time frame is unpredictable at best.
The Soviet Union style methods of handling the threat of terrorism have flaws also.
The transnational terrorists that we fight against are a completely different enemy from the soviet union, on that the author and i agree. The general idea behind transnational terrorists is that you can't contain them, because they are transnational. Which that destroys one plank of the platform that we stood on against the Soviet Union.
Although, You can contain the spread of radical islamic countries, but that will not affect the ones that are already in place. The present radical islamic countries don't possess the sociological and economic flaws that communism had. The leaders can claim religions rights and oppress the people in Allah's name, all while using capitalism to fund their empires. Additionally, they are so far behind america in military and economic standards, that they will not attempt to compete in an arms race with us, such as the Soviet Union did. So containing the spread of the radical form of islamic government will not reduce the numbers of radical countries, but only increase their strangle hold on their own people, allow terrorist time to make high level government contacts, and allow the the development of WMD's.
Deterrence will also not work against the very devoted terrorists who are willing to die for their cause.
Although, You can deter countries from supporting terrorist groups, but that will only go so far, as is the case with Syria.
The last option in our soviet style armament is engagement. We can only isolate them economically, because of our economic strength. Can anyone say castro? Militarily we can threaten, but taking over countries is a messy, messy process. Can anyone say Iraq?
As shown above the battle against terrorism is a wildly different from the communist threat, and requires a new set of tools, which is what the bush administration has done.
In the next post i will go into the nature of terrorists, what terrorist need to survive, and the proper strategy that we should take against terrorists.