While emphasizing the importance of continuing U.S. operations against Pakistan-based Taliban fighters who attack U.S. forces in Afghanistan, the incoming administration intends to remind Americans how the fight against Islamist extremists began — on Sept. 11, 2001, before the Afghanistan and Iraq wars — and to underscore that al-Qaeda remains the nation’s highest priority. “This is our enemy,” one adviser said of bin Laden, “and he should be our principal target.”
The point that Islamist extremists targeted the US when Clinton was in power, and carried it out when Bush was elected with no expectations of interest in nation building abroad is to be welcomed.
Focusing on Bin Laden is popular, though simplistic; although the desire to put pressure on the Taliban in Pakistan is welcome. There is a possible shift to building nations that are “stable” but not perhaps not necessarily democratic. In the long-term it is not in the best interests of either the nations themselves or long-term Western interests. It’s partly the “stable” regimes in the Middle East that lie behind the development of the Islamism we are fighting. Fledgling democracies that struggle are preferable to the illusory stability of non-democratic regimes.
The Center for a New American Security, which looks like another group of people, admittedly from a different angle from the last lot, who try and fit reality to their preconceived ideas, rather than their ideas to a reality. The Phoenix Initiative’s Framework for a 21st Century National Security Strategy, contains some good material, but comments like this:
While remaining firm in opposing those regimes and movements that resort to terrorism and in other ways pose major threats to us and our allies, we also should be more open to pursuing opportunities for developing improved relations with more moderate elements of political Islam.
Could indicate a willingness to cosy up to Muslim Brotherhood style groups, when there are far better democratic and progressive groups to build ties with.
And what’s with the Feng Shui quote on the report?
“The Phoenix flies ahead to the front, always scanning the landscape and distant space. It represents our capacity for vision, for collecting sensory information about our environment and the events unfolding within it.”
—The Feng Shui Handbook