U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson delivers remarks to the employees at the State Department in Washington, U.S., May 3, 2017. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s cautionary position on moving the U.S. Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem should surprise nobody.
After all, the former ExxonMobil CEO has been a major beneficiary of Big Oil, which is obliged to obsequiously appease the cultural sensitivities of the Middle East’s Arab oil producers. Just behind oil, Wahhabism and Salafism (political Islam) are the region’s leading global export.
Other than the internecine warfare between drug cartels in South America and Mexico, wherever the demand for body bags has been inordinately high, you will find a conflict rooted in political Islam’s expansive appetite. Since 1978, the death toll attributable to political Islam’s ravenous encroachment among Asian, North African and Middle East nations is approaching approximately 3.3 million. Since 9/11, there have been over 30,000 terrorist attacks globally that are attributable to political Islam.
Tillerson has stepped into his new role in a world that demands much more than the past practice of deferential subservience. It is a world in which political Islam, in a relatively short span of time, has become a ruinous force that is actively shaping the Middle East. In the process, political Islam’s surge has destroyed the lives of millions of Muslims not complying with sharia law. These Muslims have been displaced or cruelly murdered. Europe, which has received a large proportion of the Muslim refugees, is undergoing an unmanageable and lethal injection of Islamist culture that is politically and socially incompatible. Meanwhile, on American soil, the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing was the 59th publicly known terror lot since 9/11.
Now is the time to hit the reset button. This can be accomplished by abandoning outmoded and disproven policies that have long attributed and excused the chaotic excesses within the Middle East. Theories have led policies that protect political Islam and its insidious network of purveyors. A reset would mean allowing for the past decade of gruesome Muslim-on-Muslim bloodshed to speak for itself. It would mean properly attributing the responsibility for the relentless rash of barbarity and incivility—jihadism—to its 1,400-year history. This is not about our failure to find and kill the bad guys. It is our failure to address political Islam’s ideological infrastructure in a way that seriously puts a crimp in the supply line of aspiring jihadists.
Political Islam’s most historically offensive fabrication is its continued effort to historically eradicate the 3,300-year-old connection between Jerusalem and the Jewish people. What stroke of audacity would more emphatically punctuate the beginning of a new strategic vision than the relocation of the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem? Such a move, in the face of the current wave of Islamist hostilities, appears intuitively reckless in the short term. But looking at the bigger picture, the strategic endeavor of invalidating the perceived integrity of political Islam’s ravenously supremacist ideological core calls out for a strong opening move.
Affirming Jerusalem as the capital of the Jewish state would render a definitive and unparalleled ideological body blow to political Islam. American leaders have focused on destroying the military dimension of ISIS, an accomplishment policymakers presume will deflate political Islam’s ideological relevance. Indeed, defeating ISIS military will initially depress the“marketability” of political Islam. Yet unless the movement’s ideological infrastructure is meaningfully restricted, what is ISIS today will be replaced by a similar band of radicals tomorrow.
Defeating ISIS in conjunction with the relocation of the embassy would provide a strategic foundation for the overall objective of politically, diplomatically and economically isolating groups and nations that have become havens for the global export of political Islam. Only this program of comprehensive isolation can jettison political Islam back to the era before the Arab Spring, when it was safely contained.
Andrew Lappin is a Chicago based redeveloper and contributor to the Haym Salomon Center, a news and public policy group. Lappin serves on the board of the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews and The Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America.