The ongoing imbroglio between Israel and Palestinian-backed and-Iranian-funded Hamas, coupled with the “axis of evil” formed by China, Russia and North Korea, and Iran’s continued support for anti-American terrorist regimes, has precipitated a need to renew the War on Terrorism. This essay elucidates ten reasons why it is imperative for the United States to remain fighting for survival of the Pax Americana and its global supremacy. The Biden administration lacks a grand strategy to combat terrorism. The ten issues elucidated in this essay illustrate the need for a grand strategy, now more than ever. President Biden—who, according to former United States Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, has been on the wrong side of every major foreign policy issue during the past fifty years—has continuously avoided the rhetoric and policies of the Global War on Terror, and the American interests and lives had paid the price.
One: Democracy feeds freedom:
This is the supposed consternation that many raise about how democracy feeds the terrorists. This boils down to an argument that our very liberties allow the terrorist to exploit our societies, and we are thus at their mercy or must resort to authoritarian means. This canard is absurd, and always has been.
It might be true in some abstract form of democracy, where all liberties are actually freedoms with no government or societal restraint; but the United States is a constitutional republic. Those who seek the destruction of liberty are by definition the enemies of liberty, and the Constitution does not and ought not to protect them. As the famous American Nuremberg magistrate, Justice Robert Jackson, famously said, “The Constitution is a not a suicide pact.” There is no dichotomy. Republican liberty can be maintained and we can prosecute the War on Terrorism to the fullest. All who espouse the loadstars of western civilization must share this view. A recent statement by a German diplomat was astounding as he attacked this view by suggesting that the “rule of law can exist without democracy.” Unbeknownst the aforementioned diplomat, there can never be the legitimacy of law without democracy; it is an impossibility.
Two: Iran remains an existential threat to the Pax Americana
In light of the recent events in Gaza, Iran remains an immediate national security threat. Iran is not only a terror state (terrorizing its own populace), but also the number one state sponsor of terrorism in the world. The Irian Revolutionary Guard has been active worldwide, using drones in Ukraine against the Israelis, funneling arms and funds to Hamas, engaging in a shadow war with their chief rival in the region, Israel, for decades, and applauding Hamas’ deadly attack in Gaza. While Iran was not directly responsible for ordering Hamas’ recent attack, they bear responsibility for enabling them to develop the expertise and capability to undertake a deadly terrorist attack that has killed nearly fifteen-hundred Israelis.
Collin Clarke, in a recent New York Times article wrote of Iran’s support for international terrorism, “Each year, Iran doles out hundreds of millions of dollars to improve combat effectiveness of Hezbollah, Hamas, and other militant groups in the region. Including the Houthis in Yemen and an assortment of Iraqi Shia militias. With that funding, the groups which Tehran has supported for decades as part of its “axis of resistance,” have developed assortment of capabilities, ranging from unmanned aerial systems to high-end ballistic missile arsenals that would be the envy of most national militaries.” Iranian-funded terrorist organization possess a robust obsession with destroying America, “the Great Satan” and civilization. Their foremost objective, however, is to upend and replace the current world order governed by the Pax Americana and democratic values and replace it with Islamofascism.
One of the peculiar arguments that many make about the Iranians is that we lost some chance with them since they are fighting al-Qaida as well. Those in the counterterrorism field have known for years that Iran plays both sides against the middle. In the past, they have supported al-Qaida when they felt their interests have merited it, they have given some sanctuary in Iran, they have allowed transit of Iran, they back a Sunni extremist movement Hamas in Palestine and, as Amos Gilad of the Israeli Ministry of Defense stated, “they continue to support al-Qaida.” It does not mean they are in control of al-Qaida or the reverse, but it means what is common sense: when Sunni extremism and Shiite extremism mesh, namely to fight the United States, Europe and Israel, they will work together and are thus a combined threat.
The debate regarding whether Iranian leaders are “rational” or “apocalyptic” may also be a false choice. They may be both, as stated plainly by the Dean of the Lauder School of Government, Diplomacy and Strategy, Alex Mintz: “Iran may be willing to sacrifice, in a rational way, one to two million Iranians to eliminate Israel and control the Gulf.” Many who argue that Iran’s supreme leader does not fully appreciate Israel’s second-strike capability and may make assumptions about their liability to destroy Israel in one blow make this worse. All of this is exacerbated by Iran’s cozy relationship with Hamas, Hezbollah, al-Qaida and the Taliban. Iran’s quest for a Pax Iranica, stretching from the Levant to Persia, poses a threat from the War on Terrorism, traditional state aggression, western order, and an existential threat to American primacy.
Three: Terror state organizations pose problems for international law:
Innumerable terrorist organizations are essentially running quasi states; this is especially true in Gaza with Hama and in Lebanon with Hezbollah. However, even though both are fed by the Iranian trough, they are not individuals or states. What is more, they are neither criminals nor soldiers. Indeed, they are terrorists who are protected neither by the sovereignty of a state nor the laws of war. The west has yet to come to terms with this new classification and is mired in classical definitions of international relations.
More than twenty years after 9/11 the United States still vigorously debates whether or not the late Osama bin Laden should have been captured or received a criminal trial. Terrorists are not criminals, they are not soldiers (as defined by the Geneva Convention) and they are not states, regardless of their appearance. The definition for terrorism is not “one man’s freedom fighter is another man’s terrorist,” a phrase that is the refuge of scoundrels. Terrorists are those who motivated by political goals and use violence to instill fear, primarily against non-combatants. If the west fails to fully understand this, and wallows in a false narcissistic debate about criminality versus the laws of war, the west is defeated before it begins.
Four: The most basic human right in the War on Terror is survival:
We in the west have obsessed over the rights of detainees and terrorists. We have forgotten that the real destroyers of human rights were the evildoers who have killed thousands of men, women and children. They have killed them in the Twin Towers, cafes and school buses. Professor Aas Kasher, chairman of the Ethics and Philosophy Department at Tel Aviv University made a salient point with respect to human rights: “For citizens to be able to enjoy all human rights, they need to be alive.”
Five: International law, multilateral organizations and treaties work only when there is legitimacy:
The inability of the west to successfully react to terrorism and its use of asymmetrical warfare has created another vacuum that of international law. The United Nations is supposed to defend states from the exploitation of others, prevent harm to civilians and punish war crimes. However, the United Nations and international law in general fails to address the non-state actor. If legitimacy is lost due to legality, the legitimacy of protecting the innocent, then what happens to the usefulness of international law and agreements? If we willingly enter a quicksand of legality in order to avoid our legitimate responsibilities to defeat terrorism and extremism, we may risk the entire civilization coming tumbling down.
Six: The War on Terror is really a war on Islamic extremism, Islamic totalitarianism and Salafism
We dance around terminology and ideas. We engage in mental and verbal gymnastics in order to avoid the actual terms of the war. The war is a warm not a police action and not the venue for negotiation. Anyone who studies jihadism is keenly aware of this. Everyone knows that jihad, as the terrorists mean it, has nothing to do with personal struggle and everything to do with violence, death-dealing and martyrdom. It is a war that many in the media and academia tremble to discuss for fear of professional ostracism. A war where the jihadists openly state their contempt for the “religion of democracy” and proclaim that a “democratic Muslim is like someone calling themselves a Jewish Muslim.” A war where the jihadists view violence and martyrdom as a collective responsibility and obligation, where the only outcome is victory or annihilation.
Seven: The role of the Muslim Brotherhood is underestimated and hidden:
With all the attention on al-Qaida, its affiliates and Iran, the Muslim Brotherhood operates in secret, but in a much vaster way. Blinded by the strategic largesse of al-Qaida and Hezbollah, the west has ignored or is scared into quietude about the Muslim Brotherhood. This Salafist threat is active in more than seventy countries and has taken over Gaza, and is important plyer in Egypt, Algeria, Europe, and the United States. They are a highly organized group that is not dependent on a single leader or personality; they preach a pan-Islamic return to the caliphate. They have successfully hidden their financing and activity by posing as charities, educational organizations, think thanks, ministries, and social service providers. Despite their robust support for Hamas and desire to annihilate Israel, the Muslim Brotherhood has successfully convinced many in their west they are devoid of a political agenda. In reality, their only agenda is political, ranging in magnitude from the re-creation of the caliphate to establishing Muslim exclusive zones in Europe. Naturally, and most alarmingly, is the Muslim Brotherhood’s takeover of Egypt, more than a decade ago.
Eight: Western complacency and overconfidence:
The trite assumption that the west will win, simply because it will, is rife. We won against fascism, Nazism, communism and militarism so we must prevail against Islamic extremism. This, mixed with the inability to grasp the hatred for liberal democratic philosophy that extremists have, creates the conditions for defeat. Dr. Daniel Pipes, director of the Middle East Forum, goes further by suggesting that this has placed the west in the impossible position of being unable to stand for its own interests in the war by focusing on the interests of the enemy. If something is not really a threat, why concern yourself with winning? We have witnessed this first hand in Ukraine’s protracted with Russia. Senator Mitch McConnell, (R-KY), in a recent appearance on Meet the Press, said of this crisis, “No Americans are getting killed in Ukraine. We are rebuilding our industrial base. The Ukrainians are destroying the army of one of our biggest rivals. I have a hard time finding anything wrong with that. It think it is wonderful that they are defending themselves and the notion that the Europeans are not doing enough. They have done almost $90 billion dollars, they are housing a bunch of refugees who escaped. I think that our NATO allies in Europe have done quite a lot.” Despite McConnell’s claims, the Biden administration has been derelict in forcefully deterring Russian aggression. While the United States has appropriated more than $113 billion in aid to Ukraine, efforts to deter and destroy Putin’s aggrandizement have been nonexistent.
Nine: Terrorism is a global network:
The only way to measure the War on Terrorism is to do so worldwide, whether it is Sunni extremist or Shiite extremist collaboration such as the 1996 Hezbollah/Qods/al-Qaida bombing of the American military residence, the Kohbar Towers in Saudi Arabia, the bizarre terror links with the Columbian FARC and the IRA, to the Iranians giving safe haven to some in al-Qaida while publicly announcing the detention of others. It is the same evil. The network of terror is broader than one group, or even so-called ideological divides. This has been the case for decades, with Marxist-Leninist revolutionary terrorists training in Libya and Lebanon especially (especially the Bakka Valley), to Uighur extremists training in Afghanistan. They are not a monolith, but they do think at the same iniquitous fountains that train, arm, finance and support this horror of the twenty-first century.
Ten: The War on Terror is a war of civilization versus barbarism:
Dr. Lamont Colucci in his book on the Bush Doctrine, among others, have referred to the War on Terror as a war of civilization versus barbarism. It is an existential fight for the future of western civilization and liberal order. Dr. Sergey Kurginyan, president of the International Public Foundation Experimental Creative Center, Russian Federation, believes there is a dichotomy in the world between those who see the conflict as a war, where the barbarian must be annihilated for civilization to survive, and those who see it as a game, where ultimately there is a union between “counter modern” forces and the barbarian to form a postmodern world. This issue strikes at the very heart of the War on Terror. If it is a war, and the authors believe it is, then there will ultimately be a winner and vanquished. There will ultimately be victory for the side of light that sees hope and progress through the lenses of democracy, human rights and civil society or those in the dark who see the blackness through the violence, regress and totalitarianism.
Compromising with terrorists is incongruous with American grand strategy and western values. True as this statement is, the fact remains that the counter-terrorism community, diplomats and politicians alike, have failed to provide a strategic framework to deal with these ten issues. These ten “metrics” can provide a pathway to judging victory and defeat, the discussion of which is conspicuously lacking in media and academia. May seem willing to backtrack on the issue of democracy if “stability” can be purchased.
This belies the twenty-plus years since 9/11 and the eight years of the Bush administration, which clearly stated that true stability can never be achieved without draining the swamp—a feat achieved by President Donald Trump—that stability was purchased from. The endless lectures about American naiveté—lauded by President Joe Biden and his liberal internationalist cohorts—namely, that we believe only elections equal democracy, do nothing to enhance the debate. This mantra grows worrisome if not rehearsed. America had the answer for the War on Terror, which begin in earnest more than twenty years ago. The fundamental promoting of civil society and democracy serves as the only strategic answer for a problem so evil, the answer must be found in man’s ultimate good. American primacy is under siege, threatened by non-state actors and their state-sponsored aggressors’ desire to topple the Pax American and unleash a global totalitarian revolution. Now, more than ever, it is imperative for the United States and its allies to reaffirm their commitment to destroying the forces of evil that pose and existential threat to western values, democracy, and the rule of law.