Failing to Confront Islamic Totalitarianism: From George W. Bush to Barack Obama and Beyond by Onkar Ghate and Elan Journo
The military strength of the United States is unmatched in all of world history. Yet fifteen years after September 11, Islamic totalitarianism is undefeated, emboldened, and on the march: from Paris and San Bernardino to Brussels and Orlando. Why? The fundamental problem lies in the irrational philosophic ideas that permeate—and subvert—American foreign policy. The United States is a military superpower, but it lacks the self-confidence and moral certainty needed to defend itself and its ideals. And our political and intellectual leaders evade the nature of Islamic totalitarianism. After 9/11, the Ayn Rand Institute predicted that the prevailing ideas about morality would undercut our foreign policy and cripple us in action. Those predictions have proved correct. Can we end the Islamist menace and secure our right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness on earth? Yes—easily—if we adopt the right philosophic ideas to guide our foreign policy.
Winning the Unwinnable War: America’s Self-Crippled Response to Islamic Totalitarianism by Ed. Elan Journo
Eight years after 9/11 and in the shadow of two protracted U.S. military campaigns in the Middle East, the enemy is not only undefeated but emboldened and resurgent. What went wrong_and what should we do going forward? Winning the Unwinnable War shows how our own policy ideas led to 9/11 and then crippled our response in the Middle East, and it makes the case for an unsettling conclusion: By subordinating military victory to perverse, allegedly moral constraints, Washington’s policy has undermined our national security. Owing to the significant influence of Just War Theory and neoconservatism, the Bush administration consciously put the imperative of shielding civilians and bringing them elections above the goal of eliminating real threats to our security. Consequently, this policy left our enemies stronger, and America weaker, than before. The dominant alternative to Bush-esque idealism in foreign policy_so-called realism_has made a strong comeback under the tenure of Barack Obama. But this nonjudgmental, supposedly practical approach is precisely what helped unleash the enemy prior to 9/11. The message of the essays in this thematic collection is that only by radically re-thinking our foreign policy in the Middle East can we achieve victory over the enemy that attacked us on 9/11. We need a new moral foundation for our Mideast policy. That new starting point for U.S. policy is the moral ideal championed by the philosopher Ayn Rand: rational self-interest. Implementing this approach entails objectively defining our national interest as protecting the lives and freedoms of Americans_and then taking principled action to safeguard them. The book lays out the necessary steps for achieving victory and for securing America’s long-range interests in the volatile Middle East.