Islamic extremism and Western Foreign Policy Watch

Aj12
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#1
Report Thread starter 3 years ago
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This may be a long read, run now if you aren't interested.

There has been a lot of debate recently and over the past 15 years that Western actions in the Middle East have caused the rise of Islamic extremism. This is mostly commonly phrased as the West is responsible for terrorist attacks carried out against it, be it Paris, London or New York, because of its constant interference in the Middle East. If we simply did not back dictators or remove them groups like al Qaeda would not exist. However this is a meaningless statement on its own. It is obvious that Western actions caused the rise of Islamic extremism, but there is little debate over those actions or even a clarification over what that policy has been.

The modern rise of Islamic terrorism stems from Bin Laden and al Qaeda, ISIS formed originally back in 1999 and shares an ideology and at one point an alliance with al Qaeda. Bin Laden began his war against the West for a fairly simple reason, Western troops in Saudi Arabia. Why were they there? Because the Saudis asked for protection against Saddam Hussein. Bin Laden could not stomach the idea of infidels in the holy land and was angry his own offer of protection had been spurred. So began the War on Terror, years before 9/11 or before the United States even realized it was at war. I would like to know what the response here should have been, because if there is one event that caused the rise of the modern threat we face ,it was this one. Yet the first Gulf War is often seen as a clear example of a justified war.

Extremists like ISIS or al Qaeda that wage war on the West are not angry about innocent Muslims being killed or even invasions of the Middle East, though these are all tacked on as justifications and to form an narrative to build support. At the core of their ideology is a deeply held view that non-Muslims have no place in the Middle East, they will not stop fighting until they are killed or we remove all Western engagement from the Middle East. That goes for troops, trade, investment, the works, there can be no Western presence at all in the Middle East. Once that is achieved it moves into the next phase. The whole point of al Qaeda was to destroy the United States through ruinous interventions, this would allow the creation of a global Islamic empire. Extremest Islam is not a defensive ideology, it did not form as a way to defend the Middle East, it's primary aim is expansionist, to expand across the planet.

I am fairly sure any one can see simply building a wall around the Middle East and never having any contact is untenable. I am not particularly convinced that those who call for us to stop interfering in the Middle East even understand the repercussions of the argument or just how far they would have to go to pacify the extremists.

This is not to say that events like the invasion of Iraq or the supporting of dictators do not add fuel to the fire. What I am saying is that people need to stop thinking that if we simply stop bombing parts of the Middle East all our problems will go away. I have no doubt if we completely pulled out tomorrow, ISIS would collapse back into a core group like al Qaeda, tens of men rather than thousands. But they would merely repeat the cycle. Provoke the West into another invasion and then it all begins again. You can say lets just not react to events like Paris or the myriad of other examples, but no leader can look at a death toll of three thousand and do nothing. To achieve peace and to put a stop to terrorism is going to require more than packing our bags and never returning.

If someone has a solution I'd love to hear it.
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AlwaysWatching
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TLDR.

Naa just kidding.

I quite agree with everything you have written. To blame the current violence of western intervention is not only ignorant simplification, but submission of defeat in terms of allowing your mind to be shaped by fear. Interventionism has its role to play of course, but not all of it has been bad, and some of it is justifiable ethically and legally.

Not interfering with the middle east is unethical and quite simply idiotic. People often forget that, until we have our economy based around renewables, the middle east is vital to our lives. We have both the need and right to intervene if circumstances warrant it. It's not simply the case of a rich mans war - we all use oil, coal and gas etc. Unless you live the life of a hermit, you need those resources secure and in an environment of stability. Crucially and more importantly, it is our responsibility to enforce human rights and international law wherever they are breached. This not only applies to the middle east, but everywhere on this planet. If a dictator or militia is committing genocide, it's upon the rest of us to end it.

Yes western intervention can be and has been unethical and illegal. But also the opposite is true. The problem we face today is complex. It's not simply a case of "western foreign policy". There is a very brutal and literal interpretation of Islamic theology that has a place to play on this issue.

To summarise, the people who blame the west's foreign policy forget one thing. Peace for some allows others to be at peace to perpetrate mass atrocities. Peaceful resolution isn't always the ethical or intelligent option.
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Aj12
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Guess people are tired of this debate.
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BaconandSauce
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(Original post by Aj12)
Guess people are tired of this debate.
Islam and the west have never had a happy relationship and this isn't something that has happened over the last 15 odd years it's been nearly 1500 all in all and without understanding all of this history we'll never get to the root of the problem
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