August 28, 2003

So, What's Plan 'B'?

Daniel Pipes writes "militant Islam is the problem. moderate Islam is the solution" in this article that mainly deals with his horrible treatment at the hands of his Senate inquisitors. The idea of supporting moderate Islam in its battle against the militants is all well and good, and I really like Daniel Pipes' writing but a nagging question remains. What if moderate Islam loses? How long do we give moderate Islam to win over militant Islam before it's just too dangerous to let things go on like this and we have to resort to Plan 'B'? What is plan 'B' anyway?

It took us 12 years of sanctions, 13 UN resolutions, and an agonizing global debate before the US and the coalition of the willing decided that it was time to move to plan 'B'. Militant Islam in general is a much bigger question. Are we stuck with Carthago delenda est? Or is there some other solution that's a better plan 'B'?

Update: In email, Daniel Pipes writes "aren't you being a bit precipitous? it's not yet been Plan A, so how about giving it a shot first?"

In a normal world, he'd be absolutely correct. We haven't been in a normal foreign policy world since the breakdown of the anti-communism american consensus over Vietnam and foreign policy discussion seems to be turning more corrosive by the year. Before a strategy is implemented, creating a follow on or backup plan is defeatist. Not doing it early enough and you get it in the neck from those who claim a planning disaster.

Walking the tightrope successfully means having a decent idea for a plan 'B' and outlining how to evaluate plan 'A' so that if it fails, you know right away and have enough advanced warning to have your backup plan polished and ready to go when the time is right. At a minimum, a rough timeline for how long it is reasonable to stick to plan 'A' would at least strip opponents of the chance to jump in quickly with a steady drumbeat of criticism that erodes support for plan 'A'.

Posted by TMLutas at August 28, 2003 03:40 AM