The Charlie Hebdo massacre by Islamic extremists on January 7 underlines the failure of the West and other civilized countries to win the struggle in Muslim and other societies to control the violent extremists who, wearing jihadism as a cloak, wreak havoc upon the world.
Samuel Huntington’s warning of a “clash of civilizations” has become a reality, though its effects perhaps may yet be abated.
The U.S.and other countries have resorted to drone strikes outside the Afghan theater of dubious validity under international law. They have committed torture, and refused to bring those responsible to account.
Meanwhile, the defense of civilization on other fronts falters, as Russian troops stand astride their booty in a war of aggression, the Crimea, Russian-occupied territory of the Ukraine.
Civilization is falling apart, as the West no longer defends its deepest values. Russia occupies the Crimea and has forces in the eastern Ukraine, while French President Francois Hollande calls for an end to sanctions against Russia, two months before they must be renewed by the European Union.
President Barack Obama has stood by while 200,000 Syrians have been killed, seemingly unmoved by their suffering. The cost of that indifference is high, as suggested by Turkey’s turning away from the West.
What is to be done?
Something tells us we cannot kill all the young Muslims who are drawn to the terrorists’ cause, veiled as it is in Muslim religious belief.
Something tells us we cannot win the war against jihadists by using drones, by secret “black” prisons, by torture, or by simply trying to kill them faster than they are formed. We cannot win a war based on a strategy of cutting off the tentacles of a hydra-headed monster which gains strength from our very efforts to kill it.
Driving from the back seat, Obama has wrecked the world. Or at least failed to act effectively to correct its downward course.
No one has the answers, as few even ask the right questions.
There are no leaders. Civilization falls apart.
The Trenchant Observer