Saturday, October 31, 2009

Besting the Terrorists

Vali Nasr has a vision of a valid strategy for success in Afghanistan. It is based on developing a relationship with people all over the world by engaging them in economic transactions. This could be described as a form of “economic diplomacy”. This is a process that engages the populations of the world that are at risk for terrorist recruitment so that they come to understand that they have important and powerful interests that align them with the “mainstream” and not with the radical or extreme views of the terrorists.

This strategy can be very powerful and very successful, but why should we limit ourselves and our strategy to this one narrow perspective of engagement? We should send a “representative” to every village that is at risk from terrorist recruiters. We must discover every possible aspect of common interest, and we must convince virtually everyone that our common interests are more important than our differences. It is not necessary to send massive amounts of supplies or to spend vast amounts of money all over the world. It is important to identify common interests and to develop relationships of mutual benefit that will lead to friendly interactions. Within this context of a respectful relationship a plan can be formulated for exchange. They can help us with our interests and we can help them with theirs.

Diplomacy begins with identifying common interests. Stronger bonds are formed by discovering and developing new common interests. Diplomacy requires patients, perseverance, and honest attempts to listen. Diplomacy is not the attempt to coerce or manipulate others so that they do what you want. It is a social relationship, and it requires hard work, continuous engagement, and a long-term perspective.

Terrorism is a social problem indicative of modern complex societies. It cannot be eradicated, and it cannot be “defeated” by military action. The war on terrorism will always result in stronger and more sophisticated terrorists. Engagement and diplomacy can reduce the terrorist threat to a minimal presence.


  1. Terrorism as exemplified in the the form of radical Islamic jihad is an enduring problem for the modern societies of the Christian West, but it is not indigenous to them. Conversly, it is the struggle of despotic regimes within decidedly unmodern Iran, Taliban Afganistan, Saudi Arabia, Syria etc., to maintain power over populations held hostage to their bankrupt idealogies and theologies. Extant, there is only Turkey that survives as a model for democracy and Islam. The reason that plurialism exists in Turkey and not else where is because of geographical proximity to and economic relationships with Europe. The isolation in the Middle-East allows terrorism to manifest itself as a function of the state. The afore mentioned states that sponsor terrorism are enabled by petro-dollars. If The West's demand for oil is replaced by sources outside the region, China and the Third World will suck up the void. Therefore, alternative energies that supplant oil as the worlds primary energy commodity is the only long-term solution for ending state sponsored terrorism in the Middle-East. Until then, diplomacy will only serve as a transparent band-aid over the fundamental problem. Olive branches yes, but a transformative energy policy now.

  2. I agree with what you are saying in theory. I feel that ignorance, poverty, in many ways can lead to violence, much like that of the gang problems that we have here in America, is that not too terrorism?

    However, what about political agendas and religion? People act strongly based on their cultural and religious views? How do we tell people that they shouldn't follow what their religions are telling them to do?

    America also supports the governmental regeims of the middle east. These regeims are in turn torturing people and cannot be spoken out against without grave consiquences. So let me ask you, if the government in your country had tortured a family member, and Americans supported that government, would you in turn listen to Americans?