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Recovering backpacker, Cornwallite at heart, political enthusiast, catalyst, writer, husband, father, community volunteer, unabashedly proud Canadian. Every hyperlink connects to something related directly or thematically to that which is highlighted.

Wednesday 21 January 2015

The ISIS Disease and the Social Animal

Shamelessly cribbed from Warren Kinsella's non-blog.
Kinsella makes a valid point, one that will stand out to many and clearly serve as fodder for the Conservatives.  It sounds like Trudeau is scared to commit to combat and isn't sure if the fight against ISIS can be won.
But what if being referred to here?  The preceding question expands on this:
Trudeau eventually makes a good point about the general messiness of conflict in the Middle East; if an end to hostilities is the definition of success then it's fair to say that no military incursion in that corner of the world has ever been successful.  In fact, it's fair to say that every conflict that has happened in that neck of the world has been sparked by the ones that preceded it.
More to the point, ISIS isn't a state actor.  They may like to portray themselves as "the Islamic State" - something it's fair to say not all Muslims agree with - but their mandate is ideological more than it is territorial.  The closest comparison you could make would be the Cold War, with ISIL being what lies behind the Iron Curtain and the threat of the ideology being equivalent to the Red Scare (and we certainly have our Joseph McCarthys out there). 
Whether Trudeau had all of this in mind as he spoke, or if his focus is specifically on avoiding conflict (as his continued emphasis on humanitarian aid may suggest) isn't clear in what he said.  It hasn't really been clear in anything he's said, but then this isn't the sort of stuff that lends itself to soundbites.
You can't cure a disease with bandaids; you can't stop radicalization simply by bombing ISIL targets any more than the Charlie Hebdo massacre was enough to stop free speech throughout the world. 
We're not looking at one community, one geography.  It's not us and them, there is no one simple path to victory.
But that's what we're looking for, isn't it?
Political operatives and other sales folk have embraced this fact - we want a simple story with a happy ending for us told in the least amount of time possible.  Low-hanging fruit, etc.
What we want to hear is that a two-point plan will fix everything from the economy to world peace.  If you can't communicate your plan/objective/whatever in a back-of-napkin script, it's not worth the time required to hear it.
We don't want to know process, whether it's what happens in Parliament or what it takes to make terrorism go away.  We're not interested in the systematic problems related to community housing or police carding - just make the problems go away so we can go about our lives.
Dealing with radicalism isn't about winning a war, it's about curing a disease.  ISIL is just a manifestation. 
Until we shift our priority from winning battles to healing the whole, we will continue to fall short.
Healing involves attacking the disease, repairing damaged cells and improving overall health of the organism.  You can't do that if you refuse to recognize society as an organism.

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