Youth must wake up to the threat of Islamism

In her book The Other Muslims: Moderate and Secular, Baran brings together about a dozen American and European Muslims to warn the West about ignoring the ideological threat of Islamism.

“[The] Islamist ideology is the singular root cause of radicalization, and radicalization … is the conveyor belt to terrorism,” according to Baran.

Islamism, like Communism, seeks to undermine the Constitution and destroy American society both from within and without. But Islamism is even more dangerous in some ways than Communism, and thus deserves greater scrutiny from conservative youth.

“The Soviet Union, for all its unyielding hostility to the West, was a prudent player on the international scene, and could be deterred from using its formidable military power by the countervailing arsenals of the advanced democracies,” Carnes Lord, former national security advisor to Vice President Dan Quayle, pointed out in his 2006 book Losing Hearts and Minds?, which addresses the need to reform our public diplomacy and strategic influence operations in order to combat Islamism.

Lord rightly points out, “[I]t is necessary to acknowledge that the war on terror can neither be understood nor effectively waged unless it is seen to be about more than terrorism.”

Both conservatives and their leftist-libertarian leaning detractors can probably agree with that statement, but where conservatives see a threatening ideology hell-bent on our destruction, libertarians see a threatening U.S. government inciting violent acts against America and our allies. Young conservatives must recognize that their best hope for 2012 is a presidential candidate who acknowledges the threat of Islamism and can deliver a strategic policy aimed at defeating it.

Adam Cassandra is the Young Americans for Freedom Maryland State Director, and is an Associate Editor of The New Guard, YAF’s official magazine. He received his M.A. in Statecraft and National Security Affairs from the Institute of World Politics in Washington, D.C.