Some say bombing is always wrong, but Caroline Lucas gets closer to an Isis specific answer. Atom bombs abruptly ended a ‘fight to the death’ culture in Japan, passionately held by the entire nation. We shall never know the success of a less drastic option.
Caroline draws attention to the world wide rise in Isis recruitment. The case against bombing is better put in the Huff Post than I could, but the case for rests on two unsafe assumptions: bombing will disable Isis in Raqqa without foreign ground troops, and that disabling it would even reduce, let alone stop international recruitment. Otherwise if bombing really would increase our safety, then is not the correct strategy not to bomb now, but to threaten that we shall start if terrorist attacks continue? If they did, we should of course have to carry out our threat. The problem with this strategy is that Isis does not merely not give a fig, it is better for recruitment if we do bomb them. So although not necessarily opposed in principle, I cannot envisage circumstances in which bombing in Syria would be a lesser evil. In answer to the objection that we cannot stand by when other nations act, we must persuade them of this logic.
I am pleased to report the view of a fellow blogger with whom I usually disagree: Semi-Partisan Sam, a Conservative/UKIP supporter rubbishes the notion that bombs on Isis will reduce the risk in Britain. In any case, removing the threat posed by Isis should not be just a question of our safety. How about Baghdad becoming as safe as Paris as a measure of success?
It will no doubt be argued that a cessation of all outside military intervention would render an Isis victory more probable. We have already seen the spectacle of a Syrian government army turning tail. They are simply not motivated, whereas those who have chosen to stay and fight in the Hell hole that is Syria rather than reach streets paved with gold (or at least where bombs are a rarity) are extremely highly motivated. But given enough rope, Isis will hang itself by the sheer extremism of its methods. At present the alternatives are Assad or Isis.
Removing the causes of radicalization remains the key. The Financial Times this week reports an Italian response: give theatre tickets to anyone judged to be at risk of radicalization. Fatuous as the idea of enticing them into western consumerism probably is, it is at least along the lines of ‘Persuasion is better than Force’. But what motivates these ever more virulent movements, Jihad, Al Quaeda, Boko Haram? Why now? Others have pointed out that environmental degradation in affected areas, aggravated by population increase, is unlikely to be coincidental.
Isis is not merely trying to overthrow Assad. Its aim is a world-wide Caliphate. Why does this resonate with so many thousands from so many countries? I keep offering the Citizens’ Basic Income as the catalyst for a new sharing paradigm as an alternative to the growth-based consumerist culture which now dominates the world. As the line dividing a few predators from more numerous prey is never clear, the emergence of a religion based competitor is hardly a surprise.
I always follow this with the usual caveat that the capitalists cannot help it. Until there is unanimity on a new culture, the dynamic driving them is too powerful. If my suggesting the Basic Income as a first step towards a better idea than the Caliphate seems as far-fetched as theatre tickets, I look forward to better ideas on how to defuse radicalism.