Posts Tagged ‘Terrorism’

1,000 Cuts

I heard this interview with Daveed Gartenstein-Ross on NPR last night and it keeps rattling around my mind. It is a short 4 minute interview, take a moment to listen:

Transcript here.

So basically, Al-Qaida’s strategy is to bankrupt the US by making security so expensive that it breaks the economy. I don’t know if that would work but it is at least making travel a huge pain. What got me scratching my head is, assuming that the plan would work, how do we fight against it? There isn’t a country to attack or assets to freeze. There is no large-scale invasion to repel, just a series of small attacks that make us continually ramp up security in more and more areas. Even if it doesn’t break the US economy it does slowly rob us of our freedom. So how do we respond?

Oddly enough, this morning the answer that made sense to me was the same answer I’ve been toying with as a response to the getting the middle class back to work, which is the REAL threat to the US economy. When the housing bubble burst, it weakened an already hobbled middle class. The money that should trickle down from the rich in the US is currently going to fund the blooming Chinese and Indian middle classes. The Tea Party keeps talking about cutting taxes and the President keeps talking about education and infrastructure and in my mind neither one of these answers the question: how do we get the middle class back to work?

So where does fighting Al-Qaida and employing our middle class come together? Green technology. Whether you’re Al Gore or a climate change denier you have to admit that the rest of the world is very excited about the climate. According to Gartenstein-Ross, Al-Qaida will not touch global oil production because they want to use that revenue stream to fund the (theoretically) coming global Islamic caliphate. So what would happen if the US became the world leader in creating and producing green technology? We could employ many in our middle class from engineers designing it to blue collar workers producing it and export it to the world. We would have to be careful to not export the production (again) but I believe there is a worldwide market for green technology that actually works.

At the same time, green technology would help us ween ourselves from our oil addiction. This would change global economic dynamics and serve to un-fund the potential caliphate. What else does the Middle East have to export? Sand. This could be demoralizing to Al-Qaida and their potential recruits. Also, there is a general suspicion that some of the oil money that goes to Middle Eastern nations winds up in terrorist hands. If we can diminish our demand for that oil it would being to remove those funds as well.

Seems like a win-win to me. Like I said, you don’t have to buy the global warming argument to see the benefit of this approach. Now, if only we heard a presidential candidate or a political party think along these lines instead of either supporting or opposing unions and taxes in order to be re/elected.