Fighting terrorism requires a united front at home and abroad

Posted on October 2, 2013. Filed under: Uncategorized |

Turner commentary:

Even before the smoke cleared from last month’s bloody attack on a shopping mall in Nairobi, Kenya, as many as 50 Nigerian college students were gunned down on Sunday as they slept in their dorm rooms in the latest act of terror in the name of radical Islam.

The deadly raid on the Kenyan mall was carried out by al-Shabaab while the attack at a college in northern Nigeria was the work of the Boko Haram—two of dozens if not hundreds of jihadist groups bent on shaping a world to their view—though it isn’t clear if any share the same Islamist vision.

What isn’t in doubt is the fact that to effectively respond to rising terrorism be it in North Africa, Southeast Asia, Boston, or currently and most critically in Syria—where al-Qaeda in Iraq has merged with several rebel groups seeking to overthrow the corrupt Assad government—the United States cannot and should not go it alone. Confronting a decentralized and increasingly franchised enemy requires responsible governments to stand together, setting aside ideological differences to find ways to deal with an immediate and very real mutual threat. (Russia facing its own Islamic extremist threats at home is understandably concerned about any power shift in Syria.)

These radical groups look at the dysfunction in the international community, played out in places such as the United Nations, and see opportunity. And though the U.N. Security Council resolution to rid Syria of its chemical weapons, which passed last Friday after more than two years of Russian and Chinese opposition, is a positive and welcomed action, cooperation among major players on the world stage is a must if the underlying conditions fueling radical militancy—poverty, corruption, and political frustration—are to be adequately addressed.

Likewise, dysfunction domestically underscored by hyper-partisan fights, the latest of which has us on the brink of a government shutdown with another more serious confrontation just weeks away, potentially emboldens those who wish us harm.  A government that lurches from one self-made crisis to another can’t help but to be viewed as being in disarray. And while any enemy foolish enough to attack us will quickly learn—in spite of outward appearances—the singularity of American strength and resolve, projecting a chaotic air only serves to encourage those who believe there are deep divisions that can be exploited.  To put it simply: lawmakers looking to score political points at the expense of good governance risk undermining America’s image abroad and safety at home.

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