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Taking jihad seriously
During her Senate confirmation hearings, Secretary of State-designate Condoleezza Rice was grilled about Iraq, weapons of mass destruction and how long the troops would be there. But no one asked her anything about the most important question of all: when, and how, American foreign policy will be adjusted to bring it into line with the goals of the war on terror.
Three years after September 11, this has not been done. It should have been the first task of the new conflict. Other nations take this as axiomatic — including those on the other side of the current alignments. Article 3 of the Iranian Constitution stipulates that Iran must base its foreign policy on “Islamic criteria, fraternal commitment to all Muslims, and unsparing support to the freedom fighters of the world.”
It is reasonable for any state to base its foreign policy on its overall goals and interests. In fact, I recommend that the United States do the same thing. In regard to the global jihad, this would involve a serious re-evaluation of the American posture around the globe.
A few modest proposals to this end: In the first place, it is scandalous that so many years after President Bush announced that you’re either with the terrorists or with us, the United States still counts as friends and allies — or at least recipients of its largesse — so many states where jihadist activity is widespread.
A State Department that really had America’s interests at heart would immediately terminate all aid to Egypt, Indonesia, the Palestinians, Jordan, Somalia, Algeria, Sudan, Pakistan, Kosovo, Albania — and even Iraq and Afghanistan, and any other state — until each demonstrably ends all support — material, educational, religious — for jihad warfare, and grants full equality of rights to any non-Muslim citizens.
It should also reconfigure our global alliances on the same basis. Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and the rest should be put on notice that continued friendly relations with the United States absolutely depend on an immediate and comprehensive renunciation of the jihad, including a reformation of their schools to end the teaching of jihad warfare. It cannot be enough for a state to denounce and renounce terror; each must renounce Islamic jihad as a means of undermining the integrity of other states.
To be a friend of the United States, each must renounce entirely any intention to make good on the Islamic goals and responsibilities enunciated by the Pakistani Islamic leader Syed Abul Ala Maududi, who declared that non-Muslims have “absolutely no right to seize the reins of power in any part of God’s earth nor to direct the collective affairs of human beings according to their own misconceived doctrines.” If they do, “the believers would be under an obligation to do their utmost to dislodge them from political power and to make them live in subservience to the Islamic way of life.”
His comments were in full accord with Islamic theology and history, as well as with the Koran as it has been read and understood by Muslims for centuries. This is the goal of the jihadists today; it should be the fundamental defining point of U.S. alliances with Muslim states.
The United States should also immediately initiate a full-scale Manhattan Project to find new energy sources, so that the needed reconfiguration of our alliances can be more than just words.
But does anyone in the State Department have the will to advocate these and other measures? Or is it only regimes like the bloody mullahocracy in Tehran that are allowed to speak openly about their principles and goals, and take all the necessary measures for their own defense?
Miss Rice needs to ask and answer these questions. The State Department’s bureaucracy has been playing realpolitik for so long thatitreflexively thinks it can play ball with the Islamic jihadists — as if dropping care packages into Indonesia will somehow blunt the force of the Maududi dictum that “non-Muslims have absolutely no right to seize the reins of power.”
The State Department needs to come to grips with the fact that it is facing a totalitarian, supremacist, expansionist ideology, and plan accordingly. Not only has it not been done, but it is so far off the table that it never even occurred to the most rabidly partisan Democratic senator, Barbara Boxer, to use it as another stick with which to batter Miss Rice’s competence and veracity.
Now it is up to Miss Rice herself to demonstrate whether she has the vision to do what needs to be done.
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