Wednesday, August 11, 2004

In an article written a few weeks ago, David Brooks makes some good points about how we will need to shift gears from what we’re normally accustomed to doing diplomatically given the challenges in Iraq. He rightly emphasizes our focus should see them as “primarily an intellectual movement, not a terrorist army” and what is needed is a “new training method to understand people who are uninterested in national self-interest, traditionally defined.”

Yet, his brief comparison to the success of Cold War tactics, as if they might work here, is a bit misleading. He often mentions “ideological” but I would argue “theological” is the operative word in this case. Communism was not religious-based and therefore was much more purely ideological, allowing for a higher success rate for reason & logic (vs. faith & beliefs) to take root and spread. Also, we did not invade and enforce our system on Cold War nations (as compared to Iraq). Communism imploded on its own without firing a missile. To some extent, MTV, the internet, etc., were responsible. Access to images and information can be very powerful.

To grant access to these same things in this case may not work because of the theology element involved. One can figure that where religion, faith, and strong beliefs are involved, resistance to change will be stronger. Western appeal may have to come from other avenues or sources.

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