Wanted: European Grand Strategy for War Against the Islamic State

SINGAPORE: Europe’s cultural identity is under attack. At stake are values forged over centuries, respect for freedom of thought and every single individual’s rights. This is an existential crisis.

The enemy is not Islam nor the Muslims still migrating into Europe, but a small minority of brutal people who are hijacking Islam. Their intent is not to propagate a new political system. The goal is simple, trite and not religious: destruction of the Western system including democracy, individual freedom and economic globalization. What comes after does not matter. The extremists ensnare young people as recruits, selecting those who vent anger against their societies, political systems and parents. The young people crave respectability – acknowledgement as someone to be reckoned with, to be taken seriously, and the Islamic State delivers. The hardcore, intellectual elite and determined leadership of ISIS and the young recruits share one attribute, and that is hatred of Western societies.