A not uncommon argument in defense of Muslims is that not all support ISIS and other Islamic terrorist organizations. This argument is of course partly true. There are over one billion Muslims worldwide, most of them peaceful, but there is limited willingness among them to actively fight against the terrorists in their ranks. The more moderate sometimes say that they don’t believe in jihad but they seem unwilling to join the fight against terrorism. Only allied forces in Afghanistan and Iraq are willing to take up arms.

With the rise after the end of the Cold War of militant religions there is a new global war against the West. The messianic ideologies of communism and nazism from 1917 to 1991 were behind an internal Western civil war against freedom and democracy. Ironically these messianic ideologies were of Western origin.

Since 2009 there has been a reluctance of the Obama administration to use opportunities and instruments available for waging warfare against the enemies of the West. NATO troops (most of them American) have been withdrawn from Afghanistan and Iraq. The result is chaos in the Middle East. Rich Arab states like Kuwait, UAE and Saudi Arabia have not been asked to send ground troops to fight ISIS and other terrorist organizations in the region.

The West and mainly the United States have effective tools for weakening hostile states and organizations. Power can be extended with little or no military effort. Washington DC has been reluctant to use effective public diplomacy, political warfare and other methods. These instruments are part of the present strategic environment. There are few Arab boots on the ground.

Political warfare can be defined as meaning the marshaling of opposition in order to achieve victory in war or in conflicts that are as serious as war. This type of warfare is part of all international action and not confined only to political warfare operations.

In Europe Vladimir Putin is using the ancient notion of disrupting alliances (NATO and EU). It is a critical element of the writings of the ancient Chinese strategist Sun Tzu. The goal is to weaken the EU and do harm to relations with the United States. Instead of supporting Ukraine with military weapons the Obama administration has chosen not to undermine the regime in Damascus in exchange for Russian military intervention in defense of Assad.

It should be one of the main tasks of the new American administration to use opportunities and instruments in an effort to defeat international Islamic terrorism and to help stop Russian military and political warfare in Europe. Wealthy states on the Arabian Peninsula ought to contribute more to the war on terrorism.

A major mistake by the Obama administration has been the attempt to make friends with the mullahs in Tehran. A new administration in Washington DC should instead use all available types of indirect warfare to support the opposition in Iran against the theocratic rulers. It is time to abandon the defective anti-terrorist efforts of the Obama administration in the Middle East, efforts that lead nowhere and for 8 years have weakened the West.

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