Why does the US’s new counter-extremism strategy ignore the only salient issue?

Douglas Murray hits the nail on the head at The Spectator

The USA has a new CVE (Countering Violent Extremism) strategy. It is a typically curious document. I wonder in fact if the key to it does not lie in the foreword by John Kerry, which is accompanied by a photograph of the Secretary of State looking strangely stoned.

Although in that foreword Secretary Kerry claims that ‘our challenge is dynamic’, he seems to have got that all the wrong way around. Certainly America’s enemies are dynamic. But on the evidence of this document the US government is quite supremely blissed-out.

For instance, readers will be unsurprised to learn that in this 12-page document purporting to deal with one of the great security issues of our time, the word ‘Islam’, let alone ‘Muslim’, does not appear once.  Why should it when, as this strategy says:

‘Violent extremists speaking a variety of languages, born of many races and ethnic groups, and belonging to diverse religions continue to recruit, radicalize, and mobilize people — especially young people — to engage in terrorist acts.’

It could happen to any of us, you see. Last weekend I walked past a beautiful Anglican church in an English market-town. Only looking back on this now do I realise how close I came to being radicalised. What turn might my life have undergone if I had entered in? There would probably have been a recruiter right there and then – probably high church. Within weeks they would have shoved a thurible into my trembling hands, showing me how to work it even in the heat of battle. What misery might I then have wreaked?  It really makes you think.

The brightest and best of the US government go on:

‘Violent extremism is not necessarily tied to a particular religion, ideology, or set of political beliefs, although there is consistency in the extreme ideology propagated and exploited by various terrorist organizations including Da’esh over recent years to justify their violence.’

Aha!  But what would that consistency consist of? Alas, we never get to find out.

‘To be effective, CVE efforts must be guided by ongoing research and analysis of the context, drivers, and most effective interventions against violent extremism. The nature and range of possible drivers of violent extremism can vary significantly from individual psychological factors to community and sectarian divisions and conflicts.’

As the White House CVE conference last year showed, and this document proves, there is now a whole industry devoted to this kind of stuff. It is, to use another acronym, almost all BS. There is no point convening conferences, setting out strategies or writing forewords when the only objective of such conferences, strategies and forewords is the avoidance of the only salient issue.

The kindest interpretation of all this is that at this stage the Obama administration has its feet up. There it is, just sitting it out for a few more blissful months of pointless power, inhaling deeply.



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