Helprin’s comprehensive strategy for the war on terror
The dearth of serious strategic thinking about the war on Islamic terror, of which I have complained so often, has come to an end with Mark Helprin’s extraordinary article in The Claremont Review. The scope and scale of what Helprin proposes—ranging from a hugely enlarged military to standing threats to destroy troublesome Muslim regimes to high tech surveillance devices in ports to screen every single container entering the United States to a crash program to develop antidotes for every conceivable chemical and biological weapon—will make your teeth hurt, as will the proposed expense. Nevertheless, whether Helprin’s ideas turn out to be viable or not, he has provided exactly what we need, a comprehensive approach to the threats the nation faces, and a starting point for the policy discussion the nation must have, but has assiduously avoided for the last three years.
The military side of Helprin’s strategy is something that he has proposed before, though not in any detail: a permanent U.S. base centrally located in the Mideast or Persian Gulf region, from which we can send out strike forces to destroy any Muslim regime that endangers us or our interests. Refreshingly, he says there is no need for us to occupy and reconstruct a country after we topple its regime. Our purpose is not to transform Muslim countries in our image, as the benighted neoconservatives want, but only to keep them from threatening us. He also takes very seriously the Iranian nuclear threat and has an entire plan for dealing with it.