How to cope with global jihad
The conflicts in Iraq, Lebanon, and Afghanistan and the global Islamist insurgency have revealed that Western democracies and their political and military leaders do not fully comprehend the multifaceted threats represented by radical Muslim nonstate actors. In this, they violate the most famous dictum of Sun Tzu, the Chinese strategic genius of2,500 years ago: “If you know yourself and understand your opponent you will never put your victory in jeopardy in any conflict.”
The broad support that al Qaeda jihadis and radical Islamist militias such as Hamas and Hezbollah enjoy in the Muslim world and in the global Muslim diaspora, as well as among non-Muslim anti-American political forces around the world demonstrates that describing the global Islamic insurgency as a fringe or minority phenomenon is unrealistic and self-defeating. Since 9/11, democracies have fought three wars against nonstate Islamist actors. The West needs to draw important lessons from Iraq, Afghanistan, and the clash between Israel and Hezbollah to address these strategic deficits. Lack of clarity in defining the enemy and delays in formulating political and information strategy severely endanger U.S. national interests and the security of the West.