THE SANTA CLARA
September 25, 2014
Throughout the summer, countless young men and women of all ethnicities have joined the ranks of radical Islamist groups. Although their propaganda has attracted thousands from around the world, the Islamic State, also known as ISIL, is an irrational movement that debilitates any form of social order and capacity for coexistence.
The extremist group seeks to unite Muslims and create an Islamic state in Iraq and Syria with outright disregard for established international borders and policies. A barbaric offshoot of al-Qaida, the Islamic State is an extremist response to Western control and a resurgence of archaic ideologies such as Sharia Law: a set of radical Islamic ideologies. The Islamic State is not representative of Islam, but instead an outlandish approach at instilling ancient ideology and exploiting disenfranchised people.
Using brutally violent tactics to kill innocent men, women and children, the Islamic State gained extreme media coverage after they released gruesome videos of American journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff being beheaded by English-speaking executioners.
In response, the United States has escalated its involvement in post-war Iraq and heightened its use of bombings in Syria. President Barack Obama gave a televised speech on the eve of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. He detailed a plan to increase airstrikes, send advisors to help Iraqi military and Syrian rebels combat ISIL and provide humanitarian relief for people affected by the Islamic State. Additionally, several Republican politicians, most notably Senator John McCain, have called for full-scale war with the Islamic State.
This is not the answer. Heightened attacks, and the probable likelihood of civilian casualties along with them, would only further tensions in the area.
Contrarily, the central theme for dealing with radical Islamic groups and their entrance into the Western world should be inclusion and respect. In doing so, the tragic amount of young people dying in suicide bombings and drone strikes overseas would be greatly reduced.
Similarly, the American government needs to instill active communication with countries in the Middle East rather than implementing puppet governments that protect American interests. As such was seen with the weak Iraqi government that exacerbated the rise of the Islamic State, the United States must allow countries to develop in a sustainable manner that is both inclusive and beneficial, not only for American interests, but for the respective country’s own people.
While striking the Islamic State would be the first step and the more popular move, the focus of American intervention with radical Islamic groups should be to better understand the enemy and provide an alternate counterattack that seeks to include people from all edges of society.
There will obviously be consequences from the global community for the Islamic State’s actions, but we must also understand why these people develop irrational thoughts. From there, we can help combat that by including them in the global platform.
The solution to such a predicament is through better understanding one’s enemy and including people to create an interconnected community that empathizes and stands together against such a heinous, intolerant and unjust regime.
It is the American way to understand and help disenfranchised people, allowing them to grow and feel included. However, simply targeting them once they are already radicalized into an illogical movement does not show the true force of American diplomacy.
Eduardo Cuevas is a junior English major.