ISIS Could Teach the West Project description
Read the article below:
1.What is the authors thesis?
2.What does the author suggest might be the best way to combat ISIS?
3.Describe how the Mental Models, Social Relations and Material Conditions might change by implementing the authors strategy.
Note: Madrassa is a religious school.
What ISIS Could Teach the West
OCT. 1, 2014 New York Times Nicholas Kristof As we fight the Islamic State and other extremists, theres something that President Obama and all of us can learn from them. For, in one sense, the terrorists are fighting smarter than we are.
These extremists use arms to fight their battles in the short term, but, to hold ground in the long run, they also combat Western education and womens empowerment. They know that illiteracy, ignorance and oppression of women create the petri dish in which extremism can flourish.
Thats why the Islamic State kidnapped Samira Salih al-Nuaimi, a brave Iraqi woman and human rights lawyer in Mosul, tortured her and publicly executed her last week. Thats why the Taliban shot Malala Yousafzai, then 15 years old, after she campaigned for educating girls. And thats why Boko Haram kidnapped hundreds of schoolgirls in northern Nigeria and announced that it would turn them into slaves.
In each case, the extremists recognized a basic truth: Their greatest strategic threat comes not from a drone but from a girl with a book. We need to recognize, and act on, that truth as well.
For similar reasons, the financiers of extremism have invested heavily in fundamentalist indoctrination. They have built Wahhabi madrassas in poor Muslim countries like Pakistan, Niger and Mali, offering free meals, as well as scholarships for the best students to study in the gulf.
Shouldnt we try to compete?
Shouldnt we use weapons in the short run, but try to gain strategic advantage by focusing on education and on empowering women to build stable societies less vulnerable to extremist manipulation?
The United States airstrikes have slowed the advance of the Islamic State and averted a genocide against the Yazidi population in Iraq, but its very difficult to win a war from the air. Thats why the Taliban still thrives in Afghanistan after 13 years of American air attacks.
Unfortunately, were not playing the long game, as the extremists are. We are vastly overrelying on the military toolbox and underemploying the education toolbox, the womens empowerment toolbox, the communications toolbox. Were tacticians; alas, the extremists may be better strategists.
Its not a question of resources, because bombs are more expensive than books. The United States military campaign against the Islamic State, which is also known as ISIS and ISIL, will cost at least $2.4 billion a year and perhaps many times that, according to an estimate from the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments in Washington.
In contrast, Obama seems to have dropped his 2008 campaign promise to establish a $2 billion global fund for education. And the United States gives the Global Partnership for Education, a major multilateral effort, less in a year than what we spend weekly in Syria and Iraq.
This is an area where Congress seems more forward-looking than the president because Congress regularly appropriates substantially more for basic education overseas than Obama requests. Bipartisan legislation, the Education for All Act, would elevate the issue; lets hope that Obama gets behind it.
No one is nayive enough to think that education is a panacea. Al Qaeda leaders, including Osama bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahri, have been university educated. Iraq, Syria and Lebanon were all reasonably well-educated and supportive of gender equality by regional standards, yet all have been torn apart by civil wars.
Still, the historical record of the last half-century is that education tends to nurture a more cosmopolitan middle class and gives people a stake in the system. In Hong Kong today, were seeing how educated youth often behave. They are demanding democracy, but peacefully.
Girls education seems to have more impact than boys education, partly because educated women have markedly fewer children. The result is lower birthrates and less of a youth bulge in the population, which highly correlates to civil conflict.
I support judicious airstrikes in the short term against the Islamic State, but that should be only one part of a policy combating extremism. And a starting point should be to ensure that the three million Syrian refugees mostly in Turkey, Jordan and Lebanon especially girls can get schooling. Right now, many are getting none, and one study published last month found that Syria had the worst reversal in educational attainment in recent history, with enrollment rates for Syrian children in Lebanon less than half the level of those in sub-Saharan Africa.
Yet the Unicef request for education funding for Syrians was only 40 percent financed as of mid-August. If we miss this opportunity, those children will be tinder for future wars and extremism, and well be stuck dropping bombs for generations to come.
So lets learn from the extremists and from those brave girls themselves who are willing to risk their lives in order to get an education. They all understand the power of education, and we should, too.
ISIS Could Teach the West Project description
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