Trump needs to take a more realistic view of the enemies objectives

Eli Lake:
... The truth is that the Islamic State, al-Qaeda and other jihadists do not hate us just because of our freedom. Their objective is not to provoke an over-reaction where America ceases to be a democracy. It's much more straightforward. These groups want to force the non-Muslim world -- what they call the Dar al-Harb, or the house of war -- to submit to Islamic rule. Jihadists seek conquest.

Trump doesn't know a lot about foreign policy. But he does understand this. Obama and Bush do as well. But they also deliberately tried to define the enemy in the long war as un-Islamic, as murderous charlatans who defame a great religion.

This was a smart strategy. Many Muslims who believe the state should penalize adultery and blasphemy oppose terrorism. Also, states like Saudi Arabia have been important tactical allies against terrorists, particularly in recent years. Yet, ideologically, the Saudis and other Gulf states are still committed to a vision of political Islam for their own societies. An ideological war waged recklessly would alienate them.

At the same time, the impulse to narrow the definition of the enemy has ironically exacerbated the risks of permanent war. Obama should know. He authorized the raid that killed the head of al-Qaeda's snake, Osama bin Laden. After this, he tried to unwind the long war, arguing the threat had receded. And yet he leaves office with U.S. forces fighting al-Qaeda's affiliates, spinoffs and fellow travelers all over the Muslim world.
The biggest problem is they keep trying to define the enemy as something he is not.  I still believe that the best definition is to describe the enemy as Islamic religious bigots who are at war with anyone who does not accept their weird religious views.  With that definition, the less radical Muslims should not feel threatened by our side and acknowledge that they are threatened by radical Islamist.

Obama and Bush also underestimate the intelligence of Muslims when they suggest calling the enemy radical Islamist will make not radical Muslims want to go commit mass murder.


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