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Less Clausewitz, More Sun Tzu

Reader comment on item: The Ninth 9/11

Submitted by John in Michigan, USA (United States), Sep 19, 2010 at 15:23

Pipes is right to emphasize the difference, but wrong to suggest this is a "new kind of war".

In modern times, the preferred Western style of war involves massed armies fighting to the death. Therefore, the chronic, low-level, tribal style of warfare may seem new, but it really isn't. Clausewitz (cited in a Pipes article linked from this one) touches on the non-military aspects a bit, but Sun Tzu's holistic approach is the right way to study this non-new form of warfare.

Pipes correctly worries that we in the West are not fully committed to the media war or the war of ideas.

Fortunately, once we become more fully engaged, we have at least one significant advantage. The youth throughout the Islamist world will expend their own resources to consume our culture (pop music, clothing styles, cars, computers, drugs, medicine) unless they are prevented by law or other means; whereas, generally speaking, Islamists have to expend their resources (or exploit Western subsidies!) to get the youth to consume their culture. They have had some success at this, but even so, the global aggregate demand for Western culture by far outstrips the global aggregate demand for Islamist culture. For example, far more young adults know who is the latest Western pop-star than know who is bin Laden's latest martyr. The Hollywood "brand" is more recognized and more closely followed than the bin Laden "brand".

I guess what I am saying is, there's every reason to believe we can prevail, once we fully recognize the need.

Submitting....

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