Tag Archive for Islamic Fundamentalism

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The Soft Power Hoax

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton testifies before Congress on Jan. 23, 2013, about the fatal attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi, Libya, on Sept. 11. 2012. (Photo from C-SPAN coverage)

U.S. officials love the idea of “soft power,” a concept that applies non-violent means – from propaganda to culture – to induce foreign countries to conform to Washington’s wishes. But the arrogance of the approach has alienated, rather than attracted, many people around the world, writes Mike Lofgren.

The West’s Help to Islamic Jihadists

In Afghanistan, U.S. Army Pfc. Sean Serritelli provides security outside Combat Outpost Charkh on Aug. 23, 2012. (Photo credit: Spc. Alexandra Campo)

Though Western leaders now lock arms in disgust over Islamic fundamentalism, the West’s actions – from Ronald Reagan to Barack Obama – have often promoted the interests of jihadists from Afghanistan in the 1980s to Iraq in the 2000s to Libya and Syria in the 2010s, as William Blum recalls.

The Problems with Being Charlie

Islamic terrorists prepare to execute a wounded policeman after their attack on the offices of French magazine Charlie Hebdo on Jan. 7, 2015.

It’s one thing to decry all terrorism and defend the principle of free expression; it’s another to show disproportionate concern for some victims over others and to embrace offensive or irresponsible media content, troubling issues from the Charlie Hebdo case, says ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.

Savage Atrocity Reported in Nigeria

Nigerian Army Special Forces.

Exclusive: Islamist terrorists shocked the world with the killing of 17 people in Paris, but a possibly larger atrocity occurred a continent away in Nigeria where Boko Haram insurgents may have slaughtered as many as 2,000 in a remote village, reports Don North.

Behind the War with Boko Haram

The Nigerian and U.S. flags carried together in parade on the campus of the American University of NIgeria in Yola, celebrating AUN’s tenth anniversary. (Photo credit: Don North)

Exclusive: Last April, much of the world was horrified when the Boko Haram rebels of northern Nigeria kidnapped more than 200 schoolgirls and vowed to marry them off. But the violence in Africa’s richest country has a complex back story of religion, ignorance, corruption and injustice, as Don North explains.

Standing in an Adversary’s Shoes

President John F. Kennedy addressing the nation regarding the October 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis.

Americans are notoriously disinterested in history, preferring to focus on the present and often reacting to the latest crisis. But the past can teach important lessons including the need to understand an adversary’s perspective and to avoid unnecessary conflicts, as ex-U.S. diplomat William R. Polk explains.

Understanding Islamic Fundamentalism

Sayyid Qutb, a philosopher of Islamic Fundamentalism.

Islamic Fundamentalism frightens the West and that fear has motivated a fierce retaliation deploying more weapons and inflicting more slaughter. But in not understanding what drives the jihadists the military strategies may be making matters worse, observes ex-U.S. diplomat William R. Polk.

Israel’s Growing Intolerance

The central contradiction in the cozy U.S. relationship with Israel is that the American system rejects religious and ethnic preferences and Israel embraces them. This intolerance is growing as ultra-Orthodox Jews direct discrimination against women, as ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar notes.