Michael Gale

How the West can stamp out terrorism once and for all

Yes I know that terrorism is hugely inflated as a threat compared to a myriad of other things like how we eat, how we drive, who we are intimate with and, if you’re in America, the gun habits of your fellows. But right now in the West (by which I mean North America, Europe and the Anglosphere) the fear of terrorism and the perception of the risk posed to us, particularly by radical Islamists is very high. And because the fear is off the gauge it is driving policy, elections and our future more than almost anything else. So for that reason we need to stomp it out and get on with more important things like how we adapt to a whole new technology driven world. So here is my simple (and yes simplistic) plan. I know I’m making some big sweeping generalist statements but go with me for a moment. Pretend its a movie and suspend disbelief. It really could work.

  1. Stop manufacturing the next generation of terrorists.
  2. Work together – all of us who share the same Western democratic values need to stop fighting amongst ourselves over who best diagnoses the symptoms and focus on the cure so lets co-operate
  3. Work with the rest of the world – this really does mean we have stop bitching about the UN and instead actually work to make it work so there is a proper global forum and make it fair not the some are more equal than others model of say the Security Council.
  4. STOP INTERFERING ALL OVER THE WORLD. We just have to stop telling everyone else how to live their lives (human rights concerns are real I know), where their countries should be (eg. Sykes–Picot) and who they should do business with. In other words; Stop manufacturing the next generation of terrorists.
  5. Engage more not less. Trade, educational exchanges, tourism, music, film, sport all these things bring us closer. Sanctions never ever do! It is by engagement and example that we can solve problems not by withdrawal, bans and sanctions. In other words; Stop manufacturing the next generation of terrorists.
  6. Believe in our society. We do have a great example to offer the world. Its not perfect but its better than a lot of others. So live by our own rules on the international stage and be a shining example of the best of the West. Much more compelling to be an example than an enforcer.
  7. Don’t pander to the special interests especially the corporate ones that make money out of uneven playing field, don’t let corporations set government policy, keep business and its people out of government.In other words; Stop manufacturing the next generation of terrorists.
  8. STOP picking sides. Korea, Vietnam, Iran, Iraq, Yemen, Ukraine, Syria, Israel. No matter how much we believe in one side over the other it is never that simple and always completely undermines our later credibility to solve for peace. Once you kill lots of civilians in support of one outcome you have no moral authority. There is no just war and no end that justifies the means. Period. In other words; Stop manufacturing the next generation of terrorists.
  9. Use our military might to enforce peace not to war on the side of one group against another. Don’t provide air support to revolutionaries, don’t arm and train rebels, don’t back one nation against another or tribe or religious group or anything else. Don’t ferment dissent and engage in propaganda. Instead in every conflict lets be the guys breaking up the fight, lets be using all our military prowess to get aid convoys in, to enforce ceasefires, to get the wounded out, to resettle the refugees. Lets be the police who break up the brawl not the thugs that wade in on one side. In other words; Stop manufacturing the next generation of terrorists.
  10. Lets stop being the moral judges of the world. We are pretty smart and have a great deal to be proud of but it turns out everyone else is smart too. Lets set examples not dictates.
  11. We need to walk our talk and believe in our system. If its great then let it shine.

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