Sixteen Years of Failing to Confront Islamic Totalitarianism

Sixteen years have passed since that horrific Tuesday morning. Last year, Elan Journo wrote: “Many of us who lived through 9/11 remember one nightmare scenario: to have our daily lives clouded by the persistent threat of jihadist attacks. Fifteen years later, that’s our world: San Bernardino. Brussels. Orlando. Paris. Garland, Texas. Nice. Charlie Hebdo.”

We’re still living in that world. Except now you can add Berlin, London, Stockholm and Barcelona to that growing list of jihadist atrocities.

Why are the jihadists still on the march? That’s the question Elan Journo and Onkar Ghate examine in Failing to Confront Islamic Totalitarianism: From George W. Bush to Barack Obama and Beyond (available on Kindle for only 99 cents).

Here are some telling reactions to Failing to Confront Islamic Totalitarianism:

“Anyone interested to know why fifteen years after the expulsion of al-Qaeda and its host Taliban regime from Afghanistan, and five years after the killing of Osama bin Laden, jihadist Islam is still on the march must read this brilliant collection of essays.” — Professor Efraim Karsh, King’s College London and Bar-Ilan University, author of Islamic Imperialism: A History.

“I find this collection of essays heartbreakingly rational, masterfully reasoned, entirely clear, prescient — and therefore utterly heartbreaking — because the handwriting was on the very sky, from the moment Khomeini held our diplomats hostage — and by 2001, you and your team at the ARI were on duty speaking out against the willful blindness, cowardice, irrationality, and denial that has characterized the failure of American foreign policy under both Republican and Democratic presidents.” — Phyllis Chesler, Ph.D., Fellow, the Middle East Forum, author of fifteen books, including The New Anti-Semitism and An American Bride in Kabul.

In this collection of essays you learn not only that the Ayn Rand Institute has been right about the nature of this threat from the very beginning (as one after another of our predictions have, sadly, come true), but you will also learn that the reason we’re right about this is that we come at the issue from a distinct perspective, with the understanding that it’s philosophical ideas which move the world, and you can only understand this threat and how to deal with it if you understand the philosophy undermining our foreign policy and the philosophy that is motivating the Islamist threat.

In essays such as “America Is Not Winning the War” and “What a Real War Looks Like,” Ghate and Journo explain how America’s responses — self-crippled by the morality of altruism — have only left the enemy undefeated and emboldened. In other pieces such as “Free Speech vs. Religion: An Interview with Onkar Ghate” and “Ignoring the Islamist Menace,” they explain how the irrational ideas of our intellectual and political leaders are putting us all in danger through failing to grasp the threat from Islamic totalitarianism.

One reason we’re failing to end the jihadist threat is, as Journo explained in a column a year ago, that we still don’t understand the enemy:

The problem goes way beyond ignorance. Ignorance is where everyone starts out. But the jihadists have never made their cause secret. Our enemy is defined, not primarily by their use of terrorist means, but by their ideological ends. They fight to create a society wherein Islamic religious law, or sharia, dominates every last detail of every individual’s life, a cause inspired and funded by patrons such as Saudi Arabia, the Gulf States, and above all, Iran. In our book, we call this political-ideological movement Islamic totalitarianism.

Still, many people cling to a self-induced ignorance about the nature of the enemy. Some even seek to silence any serious discussion of the problem, often by hurling about accusations of “Islamophobia.” But this just obscures the issue, fencing it off as taboo, and maligning whoever looks for answers.

Can we stop these jihadist attacks? Yes. But to do that we must, Journo argues, understand that the jihadists are primarily to be defined by their ideological end, not their methods (such as terrorism). They choose to become holy warriors and, most importantly, they rely on known state-sponsors for funding and inspiration:

For decades, the jihadist cause has been inspired, nurtured and funded by patrons such as Saudi Arabia, the Gulf states and, above all, Iran. They are the movement’s sine qua non.

The movement’s foundational group, the Muslim Brotherhood, started out in Egypt in the 1920s, but accomplished little. What supercharged the jihadist cause was the 1979 Iranian Revolution. That shockwave brought to power in Tehran an Islamic totalitarian regime committed to exporting its ideological revolution.

Iran armed, trained, and funded Lebanese Hezbollah, Palestinian Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad. It has backed insurgent groups in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Meanwhile, the Saudi regime has invested millions of dollars setting up religious schools, distributing books and proselytizing across the globe for its preferred strain of Islamic totalitarianism. Saudi money funds various jihadist groups, including the Taliban. And the Gulf states have bankrolled their favored jihadist factions.

Absent the inspiration and material backing of its state sponsors; the galvanizing spectacle of real-life, functioning Islamist regimes in Iran Afghanistan, the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), and elsewhere; the jihadist cause would have amounted to little more than a bunch of seething pamphleteers and failed revolutionaries.

Such regimes make the ideal actuating the jihadists appear righteous, potent and practical.

The implication is clear: To end the jihadist threat, we must end the states that sponsor the movement of Islamic totalitarianism.

There’s no reason for us to resign ourselves to today’s nightmare. Read Failing to Confront Islamic Totalitarianism: From George W. Bush to Barack Obama and Beyond and join ARI in the battle to save the West.