Too Much Talk

The NATO summit held the past few days in Wales presented a confusing picture. The 24 member meeting had a jam packed schedule dealing with what seems like an unprecedented number of world hotspots. From the Middle East to the Ukraine to Afghanistan and points in between, the leaders had to deal with issues where “let’s study it” seemed too little, to late.

The Middle East, specifically the radical group ISIS, seem to require the most energy and immediacy even though Russia meddling in the Ukraine present a much closer threat to Europe.  Afghanistan was almost an after thought.

ISIS, however, drew upon the potential domestic and foreign threat fears.   Most member countries worry that their Muslim minorities might try to imitate ISIS.  

Theatrically, the NATO response was wonderful. Holding hands, NATO leaders announced (almost reminiscent of D-day) a coordinated effort “to destroy” ISIS. With that promise, the world was expected to relax on the comfort that ISIS would soon disappear. Oh, if the world were that simple.

ISIS, however, represents two distinct things. First, ISIS is a composite of real people, real weapons, and occupiers of real real estate. Second, and much more important, ISIS is the fulfillment of a dark marketing plan.

There should be no surprise that a modern Army, possessing airpower and a well equipped ground component, could easily eliminate the smaller, newly formed ISIS insurgents. It is the ISIS marketing plan that should get more attention.

Reintroduced by Osama ben Laden, a Caliphate rebirth, has given forth the following similar organizations; the al Qaeda, Taliban, ISIS, al Shabaab, or boko Haram, all of which have followed the same basic plan. “Tell the population that you are hear to save them but they must submit to a strict interpretation of the Koran. Kill anyone who does not join.”

The scheme has tremendous advantages for the male leaders. Women are reserved for sex and children (new soldier) rearing. The young and strong men become foot soldiers and many get to become martyrs.

The marketing plan also calls for the designing an enemy coupled with a support appeal to Arab deep pockets. It almost seems as if “it was good enough for the dark ages, it is good enough for today”.

The defect which NATO has baked into its response should be obvious. NATO is raising ISIS to a status consistent with a legitimate organization possessing legitimate grievances. In the 21st century, there is no place for stone-ings, forced conversions, or beheadings.

It would have been far better for NATO (representing its member countries) to have just said it found ISIS behavior incompatible with human rights. Then quietly, without big press announcements carried out what ever military actions it supposedly has planned. Instead, NATO has advertised the “destruction of ISIS” and regardless if that happens militarily, ISIS will now live on and become the poster child for any Muslim minority group, any where in the world.

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