Friday, March 27, 2015

ISIS - Russia - Dark Clouds Are Forming

Should we "Extend and Expand" the mission, people chat like we have influence here, the mission is expanding with or without us, with us we direct the future, without us the future directs us. If we are complacent in dealing with this matter, many of your and my grandchildren are likely to die in conflict here on Canadian soil in the generation to come. Please look at what is taking hold as rage and orthodoxy forges governance ISIS style - set politics aside - think long term. We have to be there and we have to WIN - AND THEN DO THE RIGHT THING.

Short sighted, prone to repeated error, propagating the sins of our fathers AND worse letting one human tragedy after another unfold before us – would be a generous assessment of the west’s actions in our interface with Islam. I am so very tired of watching election cycles and the political short-termism steal a stable future from the Middle East; I am terrified how, what is in some cases a justifiable rage, will find expression on the fate of my grandchildren. Every error has been made since the fall of the Ottoman Empire, the path we've taken is there in plain view to reflect upon, the path that has resulted in people so desperate that strapping explosives to themselves and blowing themselves and others up is a viable option for a way forward. We are going to reap what we sow unless we learn from history, unless we maintain resolve in force, and most importantly, unless we are generous on our way forward.

Islam is a mighty entity and even more complex in its factions than Christendom – It is comprised of in excess of 2.4 billion people. The West was locked in a struggle like this with the former Soviet Union, we adopted the “Containment Strategy”, put up a more or less unified front and persevered for 50 years to prevail - we won the Cold war and then gave up all the hard earned ground by failing to do as Winston Churchill counseled us to do, to be humble in victory, which left Russia unstable and in effect abandoned – generating the circumstance we are now in with Russia’s desire to reclaim a little of her former glory and in conflict with the “West”.  The take away from the Cold War is this, with a consistent long term strategy we will prevail in conflict, in peace however, we need to be more generous and attentive – as “we” were with Japan and Germany post WW2.

The twist an turns of events now have to some degree merged two challenges, perhaps in an opportune way, and in a manner that supports the “coalition of active states (the West)” and the Canadian government in expanding the mission to include Syria. One of the inhibiting factors in being more aggressive in Syria during the Arab Spring was that Russia’s long time association with Syria compelled Russia to resist western activity there, that resistance is partially responsible for the emergence of a very unstable circumstance now, a circumstance that, it must be stated, has resulted in a massive human tragedy. The fact that ISIS is able to take and hold territory inside Syria to the extent they are able to a degree base operations there indicates two things, firstly, the Assad RSegime is no longer viable (it never was “legitimate” by our standards) and secondly, the “Old” Syrian territory is within the “theater” of war.  By declaring the “Old” Syrian territory part of the mission, the Coalition gains access to ISIS in a manner that is necessary to execute the mission and Mr. Putin gets a very important message, he now understands that by ignoring us in the Ukraine consideration for Russia’s past interests Syria are no longer a concern for the West.

The management horizon for the challenges the “secular west” has with Islam is generations. It took 50 years to bring some resolve to the Cold War with only political differences between us, in the case of Islam we have jealous gods at play and 1500 years of conflict – with that as a back drop – how could we have left Afghanistan in just 10 years. It is going to take 50 or a 100 years to effect the solution. The solution lies in Education – enlightenment to the fact that coexistence is the only option, to the administration of force to maintain order and prevent human tragedy and to provision of parity in living to the Middle East in general.      

The West has had success in interface with Islam – Turkey as an example – we need to build on that model. There needs to be concerted, long term strategy put in place that is developed on the tree pillars mentioned above and with the understanding this is at the very least a generational challenge, maybe longer. Unless we behave better and more consistently with Islam, one day an ISIS like entity will gain critical mass, the nascent dark cloud we see over the Middle East now will grow. The combined threats of Islam and the seemingly random multi polarity that is in view at the moment worldwide is eerily reminiscent of the pre WW1 era. Short-termism, weak kneed foreign policy, complacency, arrogance and interstate discombobulation have cost dearly in the past, we need to be working now prevent them from taking our children’s future.  

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