If we won’t fight ISIS we won’t fight anyone. The Prime Minister is correct – doing nothing is not an option. Some commentators have said the barbarity of ISIS is nothing new in the history of human conflict. They are of course right. But their assertion that this means we should do nothing is wrong.
History is of course littered with violent, brutal and cruel conflict. However there are two types of conflict. Most involve parties who with some help from the international community may be able to work out a compromise. Negotiation can find a path through. The current conflict in Ukraine is perhaps a prime example.
Other conflicts however involve parties whose worldview and ideology allows no compromise. The Nazi ideology of the Third Reich was one. The Islamic State ideology is another. Like the Nazis, ISIS cherishes a deluded dream of world domination and a distorted sense of destiny. As far as they are concerned their vision will be achieved even if it means unspeakable barbarity and the suffering and death of thousands. Such movements leave no alternative. They must be engaged and defeated. Negotiation and “addressing the root causes of extremism” (whatever that cliché means) will no more work with ISIS than it did with Hitler.
ISIS and the Nazis are of the same spirit. However what the Third Reich did in secret behind the gates of concentration camps, ISIS does in full public view. They glory in the cruelty and death they inflict. In doing so they leave us in no doubt – if they ever got their hands on chemical, biological or nuclear weapons they would not hesitate to use them.
Peter Dunne thinks that New Zealand should not get involved because we are thousands of kilometers away. He has his head firmly in the sand. A single terrorist detonated nuclear device in a major western city would see a global economic and financial meltdown that would crash over us like everyone else.
ISIS needs to be engaged not because it is particularly brutal – but because its twisted ideology presents a real and present danger to world security. It will not be appeased. It must be defeated.