Another ISIS article

When I opened my copy of Foreign Affairs yesterday I discovered yet another article about ISIS. Yet this one is far less insightful into why ISIS is so appealing to those running to it and is such a threat to the rest of the world. In fact, this is a pretty secular approach which, as I have stated earlier, is not so helpful because this is a movement driven by belief. Indeed, this article is the typical kind of piece that I had thought of earlier when I stated that to ignore belief is to fail to understand. If you can only read one, scroll down a couple of posts and read that one. If you have time for both, the article is HERE.


Filed under culture, shifts

3 responses to “Another ISIS article

  1. I agree wholeheartedly about the CFA article on ISIS. While I am normally one to avoid mixing belief with politics and war, in the case of ISIS, these things all come pre mixed. The trouble seems to be sorting it out.

    What do you see the route to be?

    • To contain and dry out the caliphate as suggested in the Atlantic makes the most sense to me. The problem with that is that secular politicians are missing the point as Gen. Allen, Obama’s new leader in this effort against the Islamic State demonstrated in his interview on the NewsHour. You can’t fight these guys like they are the Soviets.

      I would suggest that though your avoidance of mixing belief with politics and war is laudable, that perspective, as Wood showed in his Atlantic tome, it is (my words) a crippling perspective.

      As Perica argues in _Balkan Idols_ religion was at the core of the breakup of Yugoslavia. Yes, Gagnon argues for the opposite (in _Myth of Ethnic War_) but his argument fails when compared to Perica’s deep documentation of religious involvement. Conflict based on belief is all around us.

      For the follower of Jesus, our response is to follow the greatest commandments: love God with heart, soul, mind and strength and to love neighbor as self. I would suggest that loving neighbor means acting justly and seeking justice at the personal level, wherever that may take us.

      • Funny, I just posted about the Soviet Afghan war and you’re right, fighting ISIS by arming fundamental Islamists to do the dirty work is a bad plan. It didnt work out so well for us then either.

        I disagree with the religion issue, particularly regarding the Balkans. I’ve not read the book, but I’ve taken the tour. I didn’t see Yugoslavians doing any praying or worshipping. They were to busy either raping one another out of pure spite or running from the same. Religion is undoubtedly involved, but I think it is used, more often than not, as a justification for antisocial behavior and a mechanism to encourage community involvement. Here at home, politicians have used it to justify the Native genocide, slavery and even Jim Crowe laws.

        I’ve been stuck on 1 John 2:15 ever since hearing Brad Pitt use it to contextualize war in Fury. That perspective begs the question, what exactly is the “love of the Father?” Biblically, God’s love falls within a wide spectrum of activities, from feeding the hungry to leveling civilizations. As humans, we are confined to a very limited world view and rarely have all the facts. Attempting to apply justice while lacking God’s omniscient viewpoint seems akin to punishing the child of a stranger for breaking the rules you made yourself.

        I don’t know if the ISIS problem has a clear solution. What I would like to see is the western clergy coming together and condemning both sides of the conflict, in effect, war itself. Until people see going to war as a last result, a necessary evil rooted solely in survival, solutions we find for things like ISIS are only Band aids.

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