Rodriguez for Congress campaign
War on Terrorism
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[October 07, 2016]
Military and Diplomatic Efforts are
Necessary to Combat Terrorism - In the fifteen years that have
passed since the U.S. initiated its Global War on Terror, we have
participated in two wars--Afghanistan and Iraq, we have initiated
special operations in a host of other nations, and we are currently
engaged in supporting those who are attempting to defeat ISIS.
We have learned through these efforts that a
war designed to defeat an idea is a challenging task that is
terribly expensive both in human treasure and in resources expended.
The face of American involvement in this venture has primarily been
through military action in which we have positioned combat assets
and special operations forces into theatres of operation far afield
where we hope to achieve our mission of eradicating terror.
Associated with these operations are the diplomatic ventures—often
occurring behind the scenes—to encourage allies to support U.S.
efforts and to promote regional peace and security in areas scourged
Much of the current discussion of how best to defeat ISIS centers
upon the proper role of U.S. military assets—that is, whether to use
air power alone or to commit “boots on the ground” to the
operation—but fails to incorporate the central role that
international diplomacy must play in finding a just solution. Much
of what we are witnessing in the Middle East in 2016 stems from the
diplomatic decisions that were made nearly a century ago at the
conclusion of the First World War. International boundaries drawn by
colonial powers, indifference to regional sectarian interests, and
the potent politics of petroleum reserves all contributed to the
scenario that has played itself out over the past century. Poor
diplomacy helped to create this crisis, but more effective diplomacy
can lead to a potential solution.
The effective engagement of regional players is key to finding a
solution—whether military or diplomatic in nature—since national
self-interest of those whose global neighborhood is disturbed stand
to lose the most through the continuation of hostilities and the
humanitarian crisis that follows. We must recognize that nations
like Egypt and Iran, because of the sheer size of their populations
and their regional influence, can have hegemonic power that could be
used as a force for good or for ill in the efforts to defeat ISIS.
The U.S. has attempted to draw support—largely financial--from Arab
neighbors in the Gulf States like Bahrain, Qatar, and the United
Arab Emirates, but this support has been more symbolic than
substantive. Turkey has seemed to be most willing to be engaged in
the struggle, but since it is fearful of Kurdish autonomy it has
much to lose in this venture and has thus displayed global
passive-aggressive tendencies in its level of support. In addition,
the U.S. commitment to Turkey as a NATO ally also makes this
situation all the more complicated.
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Force alone cannot destroy the ideology of the
terrorist. Nations that live within the region must reject this
methodology and work to resist its adherents with all possible
vigor, and religious leaders too—from all faith traditions—must
reject outright any perversions of dogma that seek to justify the
killing of innocents in the name of political justice because this
is utter madness. Associated with these ongoing efforts, the global
community of nations must be willing to find an effective diplomatic
solution for the affected region that includes border adjustments,
investments in aid and economic development, and cultural exchange.
Those who live within a world that knows hope and opportunity are
less likely to be radicalized and attracted by a false ideology that
promises success from the misdeeds of the violent.
The U.S. can play a key role in this diplomatic venture by
reasserting its role as a moral force for good in the world. We have
a proud history of liberating peoples from oppression and providing
real opportunity for change and transformation, but we often let
others control this narrative. Still, an emphasis upon diplomacy
does not preclude the right of the U.S. to defend its self-interest
and to support its allies whenever they are threatened by the forces
of discord. America is capable of employing both the carrot and the
stick in this endeavor. No enemy should ever question the resolve of
this nation to act when American citizens or their property is
threatened by those who wish to do us harm for that would be a
tragic error in judgment.
[Text from file received]