I was having a discussion yesterday with a friend about matriarchal and matrilineal societies in prehistory. I said that the way I see it, peaceful, non-expanionist cultures are inevitably conquered and swallowed up by the warlike tribes. The newly subjugated peoples reevaluate the live-and-let-live premise under which they'd been existing, and subsequently develop a huge hard-on for war and terror, moreso even than their masters.
While my argument was constructed for the conclusion that women-led civilizations are a nice but unviable idea, after my first sip of coffee this morning I noticed a neat little link to our current problems. Though the British people and the American left largely despised the invasion of Iraq, and though we now know that the country had nothing to do with the real crisis represented by Islamic terrorism, we see that it has made militant Muslims mad enough to kill civilians in western countries.
The Bush doctrine was flawed and ineffective from the outset. Although the first strike in the War on Terror was the right one, our distraction with Iraq has caused us to relinquish most of the Afghan country to warlords and ex-Talibans, to the point where Kabul and Kandahar are now militarized fortresses where coalition troops and sympathizers must guard the city limits from vandals and militants. We cannot fight a war on an idea, or a tactic. All a declaration of war against terror did was tip off the enemy as to exactly what to do to scare the shit out of us.
Expect the inhabitants of the United Kingdom to slide toward xenophobia and militarism. It's a fairly natural response to the recent bombings in London. As reported in the New York Sun, even the most hardline Imams operating in Britain had worked under a covenant of non-aggression, which, simply stated, meant that as long as British authorities did clamp down on terror groups within their borders, the nation's buses and tube tracks were safe. In January, Parliament passed a tough new anti-terror code, thus breaking the truce and providing an excuse for religious fanatics to go apeshit on civilians.
This will happen sooner or later in America, unless we completely change the way we do things.
I propose a doctrine of militant isolationism for the United States. The line between who America is in bed with and who we're at war with is altogether too blurry. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is the most convenient example, receiving billions in foreign aid to fight terror while teaching its youth the well-worn dogma of America as the great Satan. If we are serious about defeating terror as a tactic, more bombs and more troops are the wrong answer.
We must sever all ties of diplomacy, commerce, communication and aid to the Middle East, North Africa and Persia. The oligarchies and theocracies who keep their feet on the necks of the struggling and suffering populace can only operate with the help of American and European governments and businesses. We must make it a crime to consort with them. New information from our own budget watchdogs suggests that the tax dollars we're throwing at the war in Iraq are making their way into the hands of insurgents who are killing our soldiers. We have to get all of our troops out of this part of the world at once.
The oft-repeated plaint about the West being held hostage by Middle Eastern oil is true. We must make concessions to South American countries like Colombia, Venezuela and Bolivia and draw up a friendship pact with China to get the energy we need at reasonable prices. On the homefront, Congress has to lean on American industry now. Machinery must be updated and retrofitted with new technologies that are more energy-efficient and green. This goes for Detroit, too. There's no reason why every new car that rolls off an assembly line by 2007 can't have a hybridized engine under the hood. We must drown out the tired claims of poverty from business leaders -- who stuff their pockets with their employees' pensions -- with the simple wisdom: Pay a little more now, or suffer with the rest of us when oil hits $250 per barrel.
American self-sufficiency, combined with a steadfast policy of isolation toward undemocratic Muslim-run states (and Israel), will starve the terrorist threat of everything it needs to succeed. Something as simple as blocking cellular phone transmissions to blacklisted countries would severely impede the ability of Islamists to carry out even low-level acts of terror.
In America, the left would prefer maintenance of the status quo, while conservatives believe that force of violence is the only way to communicate with the type of individual who would murder noncombatant civilians in city squares. Both are completely wrong and naive. America should reach out to sincere democrats in the region in a subtle and restrained manner. As we witnessed recently in the Iranian elections, American endorsement of political reform in the Middle East is a death knell, even when proposed reforms are popular.
We're in a unique position to cut off these undemocratic, non-representative Islamic governments without dooming ourselves. If the rabid Muslim ethic is egged on by Western corporate globalization and imperialism, let's give them what they want: Let's forbid American industry from conducting business on their turf. When cash flow dries up and there's no money to feed the population, they will rise up and depose tyrants on their own, and it's just as certain that once these revolutions occur, the nations of the Middle East will reach out to America in friendship and trade. Forget about being "greeted as liberators;" the newly freed Arabs, Persians and Pashtuns will thank us for ending the abatement of their oppression and allowing them true self-determination.
In this way, Americans can shake off our "World Police" reputation, save billions of dollars and the lives of thousands of troops, passively and effectively promote democracy, and make a ton of new friends.
This is the way to win the war on terror while minimizing risk to our economy and our troops and without pacifying violent extremists.