Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Understanding The Mind Of The Enemy

FLG read this article about ISIS with much interest.   He was particularly struck by this passage:

There is a temptation to rehearse this observation—that jihadists are modern secular people, with modern political concerns, wearing medieval religious disguise—and make it fit the Islamic State. In fact, much of what the group does looks nonsensical except in light of a sincere, carefully considered commitment to returning civilization to a seventh-century legal environment, and ultimately to bringing about the apocalypse.

One of the best courses FLG took at Georgetown focused on understanding politics through the eyes of Muslim believers.   Too often individuals, peoples, and countries, assume that others, at their core, are like them.  Or maybe it's that they want to believe others are ultimately like them.   It's comforting to think that maybe the conflict is over some economic or political dispute that can be negotiated away.

Theological and ideological disagreements are different.   We must understand the self-conception of ISIS is we are to defeat them.  For FLG, this means that " well-intentioned but dishonest campaign to deny the Islamic State’s medieval religious nature" by the Left is deeply troubling.   Similarly, the rush to simply call ISIS evil on the Right is also problematic.  FLG thinks they are evil.   It's the idea that evil is somehow undifferentiated in its forms and that all evil must simply be destroyed.   Understanding the the exact nature of this particular form of evil will allow us to defeat it more successfully.   That understanding will allow us to predict their actions and responses to our actions, but more importantly allow us to find a way to destroy, over time, the ideas they are putting forth.


The Ancient said...

Does hastening the Apocalypse fit in with your time horizons theory?

FLG said...

I gotta say, it does qualify as long-term thinking.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.